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OutTakes: "People can choose not to go"

Mon 29 May 2006 In: New Zealand Daily News

6.30PM:The organisers of the embattled OutTakes gay film festival have further defended their right to offer a Fiji holiday membership incentive prize, saying people can choose whether or not to become a member, and don't have to accept the prize should they win it. The response comes in the face of criticism due to HIV positive people being banned from entry into Fiji. Additionally, Fiji law makes same-sex sex, even in private, punishable by imprisonment. The NZ AIDS Foundation has accused Reel Queer, the body which runs the festival, of showing poor judgement and Body Positive Auckland says the prize is “inappropriate.” Noting that the prize offer of a five day holiday for two adults at a resort has been in place since February, Reel Queer says its committee members, "some of whom are HIV positive," considered the offer of the prize carefully. "We also spoke with some queer people who had visited the queer-friendly resort that offered the prize," it says. "The Committee is made up of a diverse group of queer men and women and we reached a collective decision to accept what was a very generous prize offer." In a statement just posted on its website, Reel Queer advises that it is a non-profit community group "that does not have extensive resources or access to generous funding." The Committee members all work in other full-time jobs, it says, "and Out Takes work is done on a voluntary basis in their free time." Reel Queer says it realises that not everyone would agree with their decision to accept the prize, and says it is people's individual right to choose whether or not to become a member of Out Takes 2006 or to accept the prize should they win it.    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Monday, 29th May 2006 - 12:00pm

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