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Auckland City holds 1st GLBT meeting

Thu 19 Oct 2006 In: New Zealand Daily News

Over forty representatives attended the Auckland City Council network meeting for local Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Takataapui citizens, held in Ponsonby today. The meeting opened with a greeting by organiser Bruce Kilmister, who introduced Auckland Mayor Dick Hubbard. His Worship the Mayor spoke of his support of the LGBT community, mentioning his belief that our community ‘hits above its weight' providing economic and cultural benefits to the city. Hubbard was later urged to stick up for our community in all areas of his Mayoral role – particularly where the church is concerned. MP Maryan Street was next to speak – she commended Auckland City Council for advancing harmony, stability and growth with its community networks. “We don't all want different things,” she told the meeting, “we all want the same advancement of human rights. When we have inclusion, we have stability. When we have exclusion, we then have dissatisfaction and discord.” Street said she was pleased to see Police Diversity Liaisons at the meeting, helping to create a safer community. She also hoped the network would work towards including more lesbian groups, which were “not over-represented here today.” Human Rights Commissioner Warren Lindberg gave an emotional speech about his visit to Amsterdam's ‘Homo Monument', paid for by the City of Amsterdam, to remember the gay people who died in the holocaust. “I want participation and integration in society,” he told the assembled crowd, saying that the gay community he joined when he came out “many years ago” was a covert one. “The gay community in this city has blossomed,” he continued. “We've become very assertive and successful.” There was mention of the powerful ‘Pink Dollar', but Lindberg reminded the meeting that not everyone in our community is wealthy. “We must also think about the rights of the family, and the right for kids to be safe in their schools. We've also left transgender people behind, and only just started thinking about intersex people. “There are no such things as ‘privileged groups',” he explained, “simply that all of us have the same rights because we are human. But this meeting is not just about our rights, but it's also about what we can contribute.” Lindberg concluded has speech with a quote he remembered from his fundraising days. “Make sure that the first time they've head of you is not the first time you ask them for money.” Further speakers from the Auckland City Partnerships Committee and the Eden and Albert Community Board followed, before Bruce Kilmister closed the formal part of the meeting, and requested those there to come to the next one “with ideas we can turn into initiatives.”     Ref: (m)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Thursday, 19th October 2006 - 12:00pm

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