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"Don't steal my slogan!" - Ribena reclaims 'gaypower'

Fri 5 Jun 2015 In: People View at Wayback View at NDHA

Auckland drag institution Miss Ribena has hit out at Brian Tamaki for distorting her “gaypower” slogan, saying it’s something that’s all about love – not hate. Miss Ribena says 'gaypower' is about celebrating Since the leader of Destiny Church dubbed "gaypower" the biggest problem in the world at the moment, Miss Ribena has been inundated. “I have been receiving texts, phone calls, saying ‘he’s quoting your fabulous saying!’” Anyone who has heard the well-known drag queen on a microphone anywhere from the Big Gay Out to K’ Rd’s Family Bar on a Saturday night would have been unable to miss her bellowing cry of “gaypower!” when she is whipping up a crowd. 'Gay Power' was one of the catch cries in the gay liberation movement in the US. Here in New Zealand, it’s something Miss Ribena has been saying for the past 15 years or so, more recently as she was calling for a Pride Parade to come back to Auckland following the demise of Hero. One has since returned, and Family Bar’s float in the inaugural Auckland Pride Parade had a massive rainbow banner the width of Ponsonby Rd featuring the very word ‘gaypower’, something she shouted over the sound system right down the parade route. “It’s about celebrating,” Ribena tells “It’s about being happy, gay and fabulous.” Tamaki says ‘gaypower’ is the biggest problem in the world at the moment. He even claims “a whole generation of children will be bisexual because the ‘perversion of homosexuality is leading the charge”. It’s a shift back to blunt homophobia from the bishop, who had offered signs of a thaw in his hatred of the gay community. Just last year he said gay people were welcome in his church – something very removed from the bitter Enough is Enough marches he led against civil unions. He also attended a Wellington tribute evening for former foe Georgina Beyer, after years of refusing to acknowledge she is a woman. In fact, that’s where Ribena suspects he may have heard her slogan. “I said in my opening ‘gaypower to you Georgina Beyer’ and he sat there at table number five listening to me! And he was so rude to everyone that night! “Then he was doing all this ‘gay people are welcome to my church now’, but now he retracting. Is it because Brian Tamaki and the church are now not getting numbers in? They have to retarget again?” Ribena knows such churches only too well, having been brought up in Elim Pentecostal Church, which she says was full of hate, negativity and swindling money from the poor. The 2015 Auckland Pride Parade She is angry such an institution has tried to distort gaypower. “That is our slogan, that I’ve been using for 15 years at the Big Gay Out. When I walk out on to that stage, ‘gaypower’ goes boom. Everyone knows it. That’s my catch word as an entertainer.” Ribena would like to meet with Tamaki and his wife, out of drag as his male identity Kevin, to discuss what gaypower is really about. “I would like to bring one or two key people in the gay community. I’d love to meet him on Seven Sharp or the Good Morning show. He can bring a team too. “I will tell him gaypower is about being fabulous, kind, nice, and not being a hater or jealous. We don’t show hate. We don’t go to his church with banners. We have a fabulous parade down Ponsonby Rd with 150,000 people with gaypower and people who support who we are.”     Jacqui Stanford - 5th June 2015

Credit: Jacqui Stanford

First published: Friday, 5th June 2015 - 9:15pm

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