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Posthumous honours for lesbian legends

Mon 9 Feb 2015 In: New Zealand Daily News

Porleen Simmonds and Pat Rosier Two iconic lesbians from the Wellington region will be given special posthumous honours at tomorrow night’s Rainbow Pride Community Honours ceremony. The late lesbian and feminist activists Porleen Simmonds and Pat Rosier both died last year. Simmonds was integral in setting up innumerable community groups, including Sisters for Homophile Equality, Club 41, the Woman’s Place bookshop, Amazons Softball Club and the Lilac Library. She was on the Gay Task Force which campaigned for Homosexual Law Reform, and went on to fight for human rights protection, civil unions and marriage equality. Rosier was a Kapiti Coast writer who penned both fiction and non-fiction. Before her first novel, Poppy’s Progress, was published in 2002, she had published numerous works of non-fiction including a New Zealand Women’s Studies handbook and a book covering 20 years of writing from the feminist magazine Broadsheet, of which she was once editor. Nineteen groups have names about 40 individuals they want to recognise at the Rainbow Community Honours ceremony at Meow Bar, in the Edward Street Precinct, tomorrow night. Youth group leaders, volunteers with welfare and cultural groups, community event organisers, sportspeople, and singers are among those who will be recognised. Out in the Park chair Virginia Parker-Bowles says a glamorous event celebrating people’s contribution is long overdue for Wellington lgbti communities. “We all want to acknowledge the people who make our communities thrive.” Parker-Bowles says the Rainbow Community Honours have created a platform to celebrate people’s contribution with a depth that hasn’t been offered before. “We want to shine a light on those whose efforts are important but may not be widely known, as well as people already recognised as community leaders.” It’s hoped the honours will inspire volunteering and participation and a better understanding of groups working in the rainbow communities. “We expect Rainbow Pride to grow in both significance and glamour over the next few years in the lead up to future Out in the Park fairs.” The event is open to the public with a cover charge ($5 - $10), Meow Bar, Edward Street Precinct. Doors open at 6.30pm, the ceremony is from 7 to 10pm. Out in the Park fair is at Waitangi Park from 11am on Saturday 14 February. Follow Out in the Park on Facebook here for the latest    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Monday, 9th February 2015 - 8:25am

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