The Big Gay Out reception for Prime Minister John Key was not unexpected on Sunday as a section of the crowd loudly booed as he stepped onto the stage, much to the disgust of the MC who tried to calm them down.
The Prime Minister attended the largest community gathering of the Auckland Pride Festival with estimations of between 8,000 – 10,000 people on hand at Coyle Park. Other political leaders from the Greens, Labour and even the leader of the ACT party were present to give support to the LGBTI community.
Among many jeers, the Prime Minister had a message of safety for the crowd with safe-sex featuring prominently as part of the promotion for the event. He also reminded the crowd that, “Years ago when I first came here the National Party didn’t get a terribly good reception but guess what? I voted for gay marriage so there you go!”.
The majority of the crowd were respectful of the Prime Minister’s attendance and this was evident as he was mobbed for “selfies” following his brief appearance on stage.
The Prime Minister was also joined at the Big Gay Out by Youth Minister Nikki Kaye which followed an announcement from her on Saturday that a second round of small grants funding, worth $85,000, had been made available to ensure support services for LGBTI youth.
Last year, 23 organisations received $60,000 under the first round of small grants funding to support young LGBTI people. The help provided by these organisation included everything from counselling and online help resources, to safe spaces for young people to meet.
Minister Kaye said that one of the most concerning issues is that LGBTI young people are five times more likely than other young people to attempt suicide or deliberately self-harm.
“They are also more likely to be bullied, physically harmed or afraid that someone may hurt them.
“It’s crucial that support is available to address this, and the funding I’ve announced today will help organisations better support LGBTI youth.”
All the colour and excitement from the Big Gay Out below in the special Eikon Big Gay Out Social Feed.