On my return to Auckland, the City of Sails, after a decade away in the windy city of Wellington, I’ve unwittingly studied the culture change since 1998 when I entered my first Gay Bar, “Legends”, on K road. Since then, chasing down cars in Hunters Corner, retro Wednesday nights at The Box, Vinegar Hill Camping trips and, to this day, Ivy and the K Road strip have been a central part of my lifestyle, where a simple hello can be discarded without breath, more often than not.
With a smile, a slow breath and a moment of quiet, my mind floats back to the days where, on the hour, the music would stop. On a good night, the resident Drag Queen would welcome us all and roll on to a Show. However, there were nights where a small group would be standing on the side of the stage. They would hold a portrait and a piece of handmade blankets. You knew “One of us had passed on” The date of their Sunrise, their Sundown and most importantly their Name would be appreciated in a moments silence.
By no means were we perfect then. However, this culture brought us together. It had you thinking really hard about trust within the community, as we always knew that every week someone was fighting for their life. Fighting for one more dance. One more show. One more laugh. One More Kiss.
Our people were searching for a cure. They fought for their legal freedom, learnt things the hard way so that we now have the opportunities we do. They put their safety at risk so that we could bathe in the light of freedom, without hardship or discrimination. We have come from those in our past, however, that is not who we are today! The fight for us to be the best people is in our right hand. To be the best people of our people is in our left. The piece to the rubble is not to be messed with.
The hero that sets each of us apart is the fight they fought for Us in order to celebrate your own unique self. I’ve sat on the sideline and witnessed so many layers of our people, that it made sense this year to put my name forward to represent us: present and past. Let’s go to them, find strength and believe in us. I want to learn about you and teach you that not one of us is of higher validation.
Be the one to say ‘Hello’. Or even say… ‘Let’s remember them’.
Last Updated on Feb 12, 2021