The New Zealand AIDS Foundation says it is delighted with the great family atmosphere that permeated the happy crowds at Big Gay Out at Auckland's Coyle Park, Point Chevalier, on Sunday 12 February. Estimates of the crowd suggest a peak attendance of about 9500 at the busiest part of the day with a total through the gate of about 13,000. "It was a fantastic day," said Foundation Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier. "We were particularly pleased at the huge turn out of families. It was wonderful to see children, their parents and families, and friends of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, takatâpui and transgender communities mixing so well and having a great time." Le Mesurier said the success of the day owed much to the support of the LGBT community including those who volunteered to help with the many jobs around the park, the entertainers, gay organisations, booth holders and the crowd itself. "I really want to say a big thank you to everyone in our LGBT communities for their support and for making this such a great day," she said. Le Mesurier said the crowd received the visiting dignitaries with respect and good humour and it was very encouraging to see the cross section of local authority and national politicians at the day, especially Auckland Mayor Dick Hubbard, the LGBT contingent from the Labour Party and National Leader Don Brash and other National MPs. "It's very clear that we are not marginalised, but part of the wonderful, colourful, multi-cultural cross section that makes up mainstream New Zealand," she said. Le Mesurier said Big Gay Out had also proved, once again, to be a successful profile-raising day for the Foundation, with the launch of the new safe sex campaign "horny as" for gay and bisexual men, and the positive response to the Gay Auckland Periodic Sex Survey. "The Big Gay Out provides us with a unique opportunity to reach out into the LGBT communities in a way that nothing else does. This access is especially crucial when you consider that in the first half of 2005 there was one new HIV diagnoses among gay and bisexual men every four days, and 77% of them were in the Auckland/Northland region."
Credit: GayNZ.com News Staff
First published: Monday, 13th February 2006 - 12:00pm
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