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On This Day: 17th May

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Sun 17 May 2020

  • International AIDS Candlelight Memorial services are held online (New Zealand)
    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, physical gatherings are cancelled and memorial services and messages are placed online.
    Links: Body Positive
  • International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia Intersexphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) is marked (New Zealand)
  • IDAHOT: NGO Coalition On Human Rights Calls For Protection Of LGBTQI Rights
    Today marks the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia...
    Links: Scoop

Fri 17 May 2019

  • The annual anti-bullying Pink Shirt Day and International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia Intersexphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) are marked throughout the country (New Zealand)
  • The NZ AIDS Foundation rails against Israel Folau with the #unfolau social media campaign (New Zealand)
    The campaign coincides with the annual Pink Shirt Day and IDAHOBIT. The NZAF says on social media "Homophobic comments have real, harmful effects on us. If you support the rainbow community, share this and #UnFolau anyone who thinks homophobia is free speech. Anyone who wants to share their beliefs otherwise, there is a certain bigot we can think of that might care to listen. Your comments will be deleted as we will #UnFolau you." The campaign met with mixed reaction, with some users describing it as bullying itself.
    Links: Facebook
  • ANZASW observes the International Day Against Homophobia
    Today, we celebrate sexual and gender diversity in our communities and welcome the fact that more people than ever are free to identify their gender and love whom they choose...
    Links: Scoop
  • Gay sex scenes are rare in Hollywood. Will Elton John biopic Rocketman be a game-changer?
    Fearing their scenes would end up on the cutting room floor, Rocketman stars Taron Egerton and Richard Madden campaigned for months to have their man-on-man sex depictions kept in the movie...
    Links: Stuff
  • Taiwan is first country in Asia to endorse same-sex marriage
    Taiwan's legislature voted Friday to legalize same-sex marriage, a first in Asia and a boost for LGBT rights activists who had championed the cause for two decades...
    Links: NZ Herald
  • Towards a Fiji that respects and protects human rights
    NGO Coalition on Human Rights in commemoration of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia today...
    Links: Scoop
  • The Day Dad Came Out to Me: express Talks With Carolyn...
    Links: Express

Thu 17 May 2018

  • IDAHOBIT 2018 (Parliament buildings, Wellington)
    Audio from the IDAHOBIT flag raising ceremony held at Parliament. The event marks the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphobia and Intersexphobia
    Features: Andrew Falloon, Bella Simpson, Brendan McBryde, Brody Leathem, Chris Bishop, Jan Logie, Jem Traylen, Kura Moeahu, Lola Elle Bellamy-Hill, Louisa Wall, Mani Bruce Mitchell, Nicola Willis, Taine Polkinghorne, Tim Barnett, Tiwhanawhana
  • The Human Rights Commission joins with the Rainbow NZ Parliamentary Network to commit to twice-yearly community hui (New Zealand)
    Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue said "these hui will alternate between Auckland and Wellington every six months, providing a space for the community's voices to be heard by Rainbow leaders in Parliament."
    Links: Human Rights Commission
  • The transgender, bisexual, intersex and rainbow flags are flown at Parliament (Wellington, New Zealand)
    The flags are flown to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia Intersexphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). This is also the first time in the world where the intersex flag has been flown in front of the seat of government.
    Links:, Human Rights Commission,
  • Aussie relationship expert receives death threats after nappy-change consent claims on TV
    A sexuality expert who sparked outrage when she said parents should ask for their babies' permission before changing their nappies has now been the target of death threats...
    Links: NZ Herald
  • Beirut Pride week cancelled after police detain organiser
    The organiser of a gay pride week in Lebanon says authorities have forced him to cancel the remaining events...
    Links: RNZ
  • International day against homophobia and transphobia
    Today marks the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia...
    Links: Scoop
  • Parliament flies rainbow flag
    Parliament is flying a rainbow flag today in support of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia...
    Links: RNZ
  • New Netflix Series ‘AJ and the Queen’ to Star RuPaul
    Links: Express

Wed 17 May 2017

  • IDAHOBIT 2017 (Parliament buildings, Wellington)
    Audio from the IDAHOBIT event held at Parliament. The panel presentation marks the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphobia and Intersexphobia
    Features: Bella Simpson, Elizabeth Kerekere, George Coulton, Grant Robertson, Jack Byrne, Jan Logie, Jem Traylen, Kevin Haunui, Louisa Wall, Mani Bruce Mitchell, Moana Eruera, Nicola Willis, Peter Dunne, Richard Tankersley, Tabby Besley, Tiwhanawhana
  • Chelsea Manning is released from US military prison (United States of America)
    Manning, a former US military intelligence analyst, was released after serving seven years in a US military prison for passing on classified documents to WikiLeaks. Manning's 35-year sentence was commuted by President Obama just before he left office.
  • The rainbow flag is flown at Parliament to mark IDAHOBIT (Wellington, New Zealand)
    The rainbow flag is flown for the second time at Parliament to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphobia and Intersexphobia (the first time the flag flew was on 6 July 2016 to mark the 30th anniversary of Homosexual Law Reform)
  • Big Bang Theory Star Marries Partner
    Links: Express
  • Prudes, Sluts, Users, And The Used
    Links: Express
  • Vicki Letele dies in hospital
    Vicki Letele died in hospital on Monday night surrounded by family...

Tue 17 May 2016

  • Mobilising Change One Pink Shirt at a Time
    Links: Express
  • RHPS Remake: Rocky Horror or Rocky Horrible?
    Links: Express
  • Lebanese activists protest laws that criminalise LGBTI
    Fifty activists have protested in Lebanon, demanding that laws criminalising homosexuality as “against nature”, be repealed...

Sun 17 May 2015

  • International AIDS Candlelight Memorial services are held (New Zealand)
    Services are held in Auckland (6pm - St Matthews in the City), Hamilton (7pm - University of Waikato Chapel), Wellington (12pm - Te Papa), Christchurch (6pm - Richmond Neighbourhood Cottage) and Invercargill (2pm - Knox Church)
    Links: Body Positive
  • Luxembourg PM Makes History in Marrying Partner
    Links: Express
  • US Ambassador to NZ marks IDAHOT
    In the footsteps of openly-gay US Ambassador to New Zealand, meet his successor Mark Gilbert, who has recorded a special message for the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia - known as IDAHOT...

Sat 17 May 2014

  • Express introduces… Tommy Bradson
    Links: Express
  • Famously Fabulous – Family
    Links: Express
  • Sexy Sleaze – Urge Bar
    Links: Express
  • Win a Trip to Hawaii Final Draw – POP on Ponsonby
    Links: Express
  • Helen Clark on IDAHOT
    Former NZ PM and current administrator of the UN Development Programme Helen Clark has put out a powerful statement to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia: Helen Clark The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia provides an opportunity to reaffirm that the rights of LGBT people are a matter of concern to all of us working on human development...

Fri 17 May 2013

  • MP Goff ups pressure over suppressed Army "shortcomings"
    Former Defence and Justice Minister Phil Goff has this week upped the ante and is vowing not to give up asking questions about the death of Corporal Dougie Hughes until he gets the answers the late soldier and his family deserve...

Thu 17 May 2012

  • Johnny Croskery tribute
    Audio from the tribute night to the late Johnny Croskery held at Scotty and Mals Cocktail and Lounge Bar in Wellington on 17 May 2012
    Features: Bill Logan, David Pankhurst, Des Smith, Kay Jones, Malcolm Kennedy-Vaughan
  • What are you so afraid of?
    Joseph Habgood from Legalise Love, a pro adoption and marriage equality group based in Wellington, delves into the myths being pushed by the anti-brigade, urging social conservatives to calm down and look at the situation rationally: “In every person’s life, there are a few wonderful moments when they feel the world change, quite substantially, for the better...

Tue 17 May 2011

  • Straight rugby star to tackle homophobia
    Ben Cohen won the Rugby World Cup with England in 2003 Rugby World Cup winning England back Ben Cohen is retiring from rugby to focus on his anti-homophobia and bullying foundation...

Mon 17 May 2010

  • nominated for Qantas Media Award
    Glenn Mills GayNZ...

Sun 17 May 2009

  • International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is held
  • NZ man offering gun plans to gay-haters
    An Auckland man is providing users of an anti-gay website with instructions on how to build a one-shot gun disguised as a pen...

Sat 17 May 2008

  • Jodie Foster split with girlfriend, says tabloid
    Actress Jodie Foster - who publicly confirmed she is a lesbian at an awards ceremony last December - has split from her long-term girlfriend, claims an American gossip tabloid...

Thu 17 May 2007

  • USA: Court validates up to 200 gay unions
    A Massachusetts court has validated marriages for up to 200 gay and lesbian couples from New York who wed in Massachusetts between 2004 and 2006, clarifying a previous ruling that failed to acknowledge them...

Wed 17 May 2006

  • New safe sex campaign aimed at couples
    Local singer/songwriter Carly Binding is throwing her support behind a new campaign to encourage condom use for gay male couples...

Tue 17 May 2005

  • Who killed Pier Paolo Pasolini?
    Pier Paolo Pasolini Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-1975) was a cutting edge Italian gay communist film-maker of the sixties and seventies until his murder...

Mon 17 May 2004

  • US predator in NZ... who is this man?
    Bill Maier At the forthcoming Maxim Institute/Focus on the Family/United Future anti-civil union meetings throughout New Zealand, Focus on the Family (US)'s Bill Maier is billed as a keynote speaker...

Sat 17 May 2003

  • Grief and commitment noted in AIDS messages
    Being proud as we grieve for people lost to HIV and their families, and a call to educate new generations safe sex commitments, are the themes of messages from the Governor General and Prime Minister on the eve of the AIDS Candlelight Memorial events...

Sun 17 May 1998

  • International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is held (New Zealand)

Sun 17 May 1992

  • The 9th annual International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is held (New Zealand)
    Over 200 cities around the world participate, with New Zealand being the first country in the world to hold memorials.
    Links: Bay Area Reporter

Sun 17 May 1987

  • International AIDS Candlelight Memorials are held (New Zealand)
    The Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco) notes that memorials are held in at least four cities in New Zealand.
    Links: Bay Area Reporter
  • AIDS: The New Lepers is broadcast on TV1 (New Zealand)
    The documentary is followed by a panel discussion with health professionals in New Zealand plus excerpts from Australian and British TV campaigns. Interviewees include Betty Kill, Warren Lindberg, Dr Rod Ellis-Pegler and Dr David Skegg. Ref F58399 and F92709.
    Links: Nga Taonga Sound and Vision (1), Nga Taonga Sound and Vision (2)

Fri 17 May 1985

  • Television: Gay Task Force and Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC) are accidentally given space at Wellington Show (Wellington, New Zealand)
    ref: TZP8646.
    Links: Nga Taonga Sound and Vision

Thu 17 May 1984

Mon 17 May 1976

  • Television current affairs: photographer Brian Brake (New Zealand)
    Today at One, ref TZP3332.
    Links: TVNZ

Mon 17 May 1915

  • Music teacher John Leslie Lander pleads guilty to committing an unnatural offence (Auckland, New Zealand)
    Lander was sentenced to life imprisonment, plus 10-years hard labour on a charge of indecent assault. He was imprisoned in New Plymouth Prison. Lander had earlier been the primary witness in the trial of bootmaker and vocalist Alexander Edward McGurk (34). He hadn't himself been charged until the NZ Truth began reporting on the incident. McGurk would later "peach" (inform) on Lander. Gordon James Cunninghame (18) would also testify. Lander was described by the NZ Truth as a dainty-looking "chappie" and the willing victim of the offence. Justice Chapman observed that "the prisoner was not a safe man to be at large in a free community." Lander would later die in jail.
    Links: Papers Past (1), Papers Past (2), Papers Past (3)

This list of events is generated from a number of different sources: media items on, archived pages from, our rainbow timeline and links to rainbow-related stories on other media sites. There may be some inaccuracies - please let us know if you find anything that needs changing. If you would like to see a full list of dates click here