August 6 2018
I am a gay man. I have a shaved head, I wear blue jeans and flannel, I swear and drink beer. When I sneeze - snot comes out, not glitter. My dollars sure as hell aren’t pink, but hard earned like everybody else in this town. I work in the male dominated transport industry, I have never been subjected to anything worse than light hearted banter, which if I weren’t included in on account of being gay, I’d feel left out of the camaraderie my other colleagues share.
Where does this idea come from that gay men float around in pink tutus and only cross the street at rainbow coloured crossings? Where did Karen Boult get the idea that Queenstown is anything but gay friendly is beyond me. I’ve never felt there is a business that I can’t visit on account of my sexuality. In fact if she goes ahead with this idea of hers to have insecure business owners pay an arbitrary registration fee to hang an authorised Karen approved rainbow over the door of their shop, I will more likely pass it by than visit it, as all this does is reinforce archaic stereotypes of gay men and is a blatant money grabbing scheme.
Queenstown is and always has been accepting of all people. Quit putting the idea in people’s heads that gay men and women are in any way different or hold different values to everybody else. By putting rainbows everywhere and referring to the pink dollar, just reminds us gay people that certain folk are still uncomfortable with us and think of us as not quite the same as them.
A tolerant society wouldn’t need to differentiate between gay and non gay friendly businesses with pretty pictures over the entrance.
Response from Martin King, Director of Winter Pride
It is always good to hear that someone feels safe and included as an LGBTTI+ person in our community. That feels like the way that things should be. Unfortunately yours is not the common experience, and not because people are being deliberately malicious. Over half of LGBT+ people are not comfortable to be open about their status at work and around a 1/3 actually go back in the closet at work, and so having Winter Pride in Queenstown is important and The Pride Pledge is a way businesses can show they are supportive, safe and inclusive businesses for their LGBT+ staff and customers. Queenstown is a wonderful community of people who endeavour to be inclusive, and that is a strength for events like Winter Pride and the Pride Pledge initiative and why it has been so successful.
As a community we can be very proud and privileged to have Karen Boult, our Mayoress, stand alongside us and say that she wants our town to be more inclusive and safer for everyone, where people can be visible with glitter and in jeans, with long hair or shaved heads.
Mayoress, Karen Boult, added: “Our district is a welcoming, vibrant community that celebrates diversity, and we’re lucky to have the opportunity to acknowledge that through Winter Pride and the Pride Pledge. But it’s important that none of us takes that for granted, and that we pay particular attention to our younger community. Our society hasn’t always embraced the rainbow community. I, personally, am delighted to see how attitudes have changed, and am proud to support the Pride Pledge making a clear statement that Queenstown Lakes is a safe and inclusive community.”