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Rainbow beacons of "freedom" over Auckland

Fri 15 Feb 2013 In: New Zealand Daily News

For one gay man at the Auckland Domain to see the museum and Sky Tower bathed in the colours of the gay rainbow one word summed up the sight: "Freedom." Earlier this evening, on the eve of tomorrow's Pride Parade, the War Memorial Museum and the Sky Tower were illuminated in acknowledgement of gay pride. As he stared up at the museum awash with softly pulsing colours then looked out over the city below, west Aucklander Samasoni Vaaetasi, originally from Samoa which is considering criminalising cross-dressing and kissing between non-related same sex couples, sighed deeply then smiled broadly: "It's a beacon of freedom." All through the evening a steady stream of cars have been cruising through the Domain to see the rainbow museum, with many people, gay and straight alike, stopping to take photos. "It's just great," said gay businessman Richard James. "It shows just how far New Zealand society has come that even some of our major institutions can join in with our celebrations." His words were echoed by gay Wellington couple Des Smith and John Jolliff who have traveled north to catch some of the Pride Festival events and particularly the Bear activities. "It is a clear sign of what has been achieved in the years since we had to campaign for law reform to stop being jailed for expressing who we are," says Jolliff. "It's so wonderful to see." While cars cruised and cameras flashed in the Domain, down on the waterfront a crowd estimated at 600 gathered to watch a free outdoor screening of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Rugged up against the evening air and undeterred by the occasional minute or two of barely noticeable drizzle the mainly young crowd munched on churros and burgers and gazed up at the camp classic movie in which humanity triumphs over prejudice. To their left, looming over the city skyline, the Sky Tower gently cycled through the colours of the gay rainbow. "Why can't we do this more often," laughed Grey Lynn lesbian Lauren before kissing her girlfriend and turning back to the screen as the movie soundtrack wafted Abba across the Silo Park.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Friday, 15th February 2013 - 11:37pm

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