Pride and police

Written By: - Date published: 10:43 am, November 26th, 2018 - 110 comments
Categories: human rights, identity, Politics - Tags: ,

Over the past two weeks the New Zealand LGBTQIA+ and takatāpui communities have had one of the most divisive and difficult conversations of our time played out very publicly. At the centre of the media coverage is the decision by the Auckland Pride Board to request that the New Zealand Police attend the 2019 event wearing something other than their uniform, whether that be an alternative t-shirt or civilian plain clothes.

While many have jumped at the chance to comment on this issue, the New Zealand media has (mostly) erased the context, nuance, and implications of the substantive debate.

The Context

Since 2014 the New Zealand Police have marched in uniform during the annual Auckland Pride Parade, however not without backlash among rainbow communities.

Opposition to the police participating in the event is grounded in concerns around the ongoing institutional violence faced disproportionately by Māori, the ongoing abuse and mistreatment experienced by the trans community at the hands of the police, the past criminalisation of gay men and trans people, and the systemic racism, transphobia and homophobia within the New Zealand Police.

By their own admission, police have work to do.

In 2015, police commissioner Mike Bush admitted the police hold unconscious racial bias – and by 2017 despite two years of police recognising this, there had been no reduction in the number of Māori being arrested.

According to the New Zealand Police’s Tactical Options Research Reports in the year that police first marched in uniform, 2014, Māori were 7.01 times more likely to be the victims of police brutality than Pākehā (including but not limited to physical force – open hand and baton, TASER, dogs, and firearms).

In 2015 that factor increased to 7.1x more likely to be the victims of police brutality.

In 2016, it increased again to 7.4x more likely.

By 2017, Māori felt the violence of the New Zealand police 7.7x times more than Pākehā.

While we await the release of the 2018 report, it is undeniable that these numbers are moving in the wrong direction. Māori are feeling institutional violence at the hands of the New Zealand Police more acutely now than before the police vowed to do better during these discussions with Auckland Pride in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.

In addition to the worsening police brutality figures, during the first six months of 2018 there were 1992 formal allegations of police misconduct, an increase of 21 percent on the same period in 2017. Within those figures there is no break down of what parts of our society these allegations are coming from. This becomes an issue for LGBTQIA+ and takatāpui people as we are entirely reliant on anecdotal evidence to track whether the situation for the rainbow community is getting better – and academic research resoundingly finds that the vast majority of these incidences towards queer and trans people will not be reported for fear of further victimisation.

What we do know is that trans New Zealanders are routinely asked to remove their make up in police custody, commonly misgendered, subjected to strip searches by officers who do not reflect their gender, experience physical and sexual assault at the hands of the police and are far more likely to have their accounts of sexual and domestic violence ignored.

A 2016 report published by Hohou Te Rongo Kahukura – Outing Violence, contained this particularly harrowing account:

New Zealand Police responding to a trans woman’s call for help after being abused by her husband. When the Police arrived, he told them he had just found out she was trans and that is why he had assaulted her. They had been married for ten years and this was entirely untrue. The Police left without providing any assistance for her, despite visible evidence of the recent assault she had experienced.”

The report goes on to state:

There are indications across surveys that lifetime sexual violence experience for trans people may reach 50%, and that trans women of colour are most likely to be victimised” and that “the criminal justice system was unlikely to ever be widely used by Rainbow communities due to concerns over discrimination and fears about how safe Rainbow perpetrators would be inside prison.”

Further more, an approach to policing that perpetuates the criminalisation at the margins of our society, those experiencing housing hardship (who are disproportionately LGBTQIA+, substance abuse (who are disproportionately LGBTQIA+, mental illness (who are disproportionately LGBTQIA+, has become New Zealand’s modus operandi.

What emerges from a survey of the evidence- whether it be stories of lived experiences or academic and institutional reporting- is despite the fights that have been won with homosexual law reform and marriage equality there are many queer and trans New Zealanders who continue to experience the worst elements of the New Zealand Police force.

Many of these concerns echo the elements that were at play when Marsha B. Johnson, a black trans woman and self-identified drag-queen, threw the first brick of the Stonewall riots on June 28th 1969, widely regarded as a pivotal moment in the international movement for queer and trans liberation. In June 1970 activists marked these events with a march highlighting mistreatment and abuse at the hands of the police. While the context in New Zealand differs, the international Pride movement has never just been about a celebration of gay identity, rather it has always centred the rights of queer and trans people to exist without persecution.

The Compromise

Over the past few months the Auckland Pride Board engaged in a series of four community hui and two open board meetings in which the issue of police brutality against Māori, takatāpui and trans people was repeatedly highlighted. This prompted a fifth “hot topic” hui to be called specifically around this issue. In response to the New Zealand Police submitting an application for the 2019 event, the Board requested that the Police do not march in uniform, instead wearing a t-shirt or civilian attire.

This approach is the same one followed by a number of Pride events around the world including London, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, Halifax, Durham County (North Carolina), Madison (Wisconsin), and Minneapolis (Minnesota). The approach allows for LGBTQIA+ police officers to participate proudly, as equals, without wearing a uniform that, to many, represents past personal trauma and institutional violence.

In response to this request, the New Zealand Police self appointed National Diversity Liaison Co-ordinator Tracey Phillips (who had previously attempted and failed to be elected to the Auckland Pride Board) issued an ultimatum – that the police wear their uniform or no police officer will march. With one statement the New Zealand Police exposed a belief that their participation in the parade wearing a uniform and the full branding of powerful state institution was of more importance than the full participation of the LGBTQIA+ and takatāpui communities for whom Pride is meant to be about. We know that many of those who have been victimised by the police will simply not see Pride as an event for them. Many will continue to feel isolated by a community with whom they fought along side for Gay and Lesbian rights. Many will feel as though the Police have revealed that their participation in Pride represented little more than a yearly pink-washed PR exercise, with little commitment to reversing the shocking misconduct and force statistics.

Immediately this story was framed as being one of ‘exclusion’ by the Auckland Pride Board – and very quickly language of ‘diversity and inclusion’ was co-opted by those who negated any analysis of power in their understanding of inclusion.

On Sunday 18th November the Auckland Pride Board held another hui, facilitated by an external independent mediator, focused on a community conversation around the decision. Very quickly racial abuse was thrown at both the board and those who spoke in favour of the decision, a Māori trans wahine was spat on by an older gay Pākehā man, and a vocal group tried to force a vote on the issue claiming that ‘majority rules’ should apply. For a minority community, who has a long history of discrimination, the irony seemed to be lost – if as a society, we based rights on majority opinions Homosexual Law Reform would have taken far longer than it did.

The Boycott

Immediately following the final hui, a Motion of No Confidence was submitted to the Auckland Pride Board and a concerted effort to bully the LGBTQIA+ community began. Since then we have seen the full force of the most privileged elements of the Gay and Lesbian communities fall behind this police-led boycott of the 2019 Parade. The Rainbow Charitable Trust (formerly the Gay Auckland Business Association) and other business associations have flexed their corporate power, leading to major funders to pull their support, citing concerns about the lack of ‘inclusion’ of the police force.

This boycott is an attempt to minimise and silence a discussion around what the future of queer and trans politics will look like. For many in our community it seems that personal comfortability and an uncritical notion of ‘inclusion’ has come at the expense of a serious commitment to upholding justice. To respect the very hard fought battles for civil rights that have already been won, our community must look very closely at who has been left behind over the last 30 years. Failure to do so is simply pulling up ladder behind us.

I refuse to believe that those, for whom I owe my rights, were fighting so that they could sit in business associations or in corporate diversity positions weaponising economic and social capital against those in our community who are the most marginalised.

None of us are free until we are all free.

Joel Walsham
———

If you want to support the takatāpui and LGBTQIA+ communities, consider donating to our Give-A-Little campaign which aims to raise community funds to replace those lost by this police-led corporate boycott.

110 comments on “Pride and police ”

  1. mickysavage 1

    This is a very heart felt written post setting out why the decision of the police to march in uniform has caused such ructions within the LGBTQUIA community. Please keep responses respectful.

  2. Bill 2

    The police should never be given the opportunity to pass themselves off as somehow “just another part of” the community (any community).

    That’s not said because I harbour any ill feeling towards individual police officers, but simply because the police force is not an integral part of any community.

    For what it’s worth and in the same vein, I also find the “co-opting” of various communities and movements by political parties for the sake of “branding” pretty damned odious too.

    • Antoine 2.1

      > but simply because the police force is not an integral part of any community.

      I disagree, my observation of small town NZ is that the local copper is part of the community, _can_ be well liked and respected, and has an important and typically overall beneficial part to play.

      A.

      • Sabine 2.1.1

        and then you send that same copper to a community who is not his community and you will see that his attitude towards those that he polices might change a bit.

        the old adage of ‘don’t shit your bed you sleep in’ is also valid for police officers.

      • WeTheBleeple 2.1.2

        Disagree on Police not being part of the community. Worked next door to a community constable for some time he was getting hard case kids out for fishing trips and setting (some of) them straight. Always volunteering,helped me for a couple runs of a food cooperative till I could WOF my car. Absolutely a part of community, a valuable part at that.

        • Antoine 2.1.2.1

          I used to have a mate who was in the police who spent much of his time going round the schools talking to kids about cycle safety. Same deal.

          A.

          • gsays 2.1.2.1.1

            i hear what you guys are saying about being part of the community.
            that changes when it comes to road policing duties.
            i understand that police patrol outside of their ‘communities’.
            largely to avoid any negative impacts,
            it’s a bit like having your cake and eating it too.

      • lprent 2.1.3

        Not the case in many parts of Auckland.

        Personally I’ve never seen them as part of my communities. They’re often fine if you’re doing something really simple that they can understand.

        For instance when we had a blood trail leading into our apartment block, they responded well and fast (someone leaking blood off bones in a plastic bag). I’ve let them in at ungodly hours of the morning when they’ve been executing a drugs search warrant (we really don’t want people dealing here).

        But get them on activism and it has been pretty clear since I was a teen back in 1981 that as a group they really seem to have absolutely no idea about why anyone would want any social change.

        Sure the 81 tour (my first experience) was a crap assignment for them. However the organisation had operational choices. Over time they invariably took the ones that ignored their responsibility towards the protesters who were mounting legitimate protests against a stupid decision by the National party in their bid for the 1981 election. And it has been the same since.

        Infiltrating peaceful activist organisations (which is legitimate) but then trying to entrap activists into illegal activities – seen that enough times now to recognise it as one of their standard tactics.

        Making up complete fiction whilst gaining search warrants, then following through with completely bogus charges – presumably because that was the only way that they could justify their actions. It ties everyone up in court to eventually kick the charge – usually on appeal to a higher court.

        Being around Maori friends in Auckland is always a revelation in racial profiling. Especially if they are youngish and in good car. They get pulled over a lot. From what I have heard, they still do 30-40 years later.

        And those are just my experience and I’m not exactly on the borders of our society (apart from being a techno geek)

        The police are a necessary evil. However as an organisation in NZ they seem to still act like the occupation militia that their organisation was founded to perform. They are deeply suspicious of social change and generally attract people that fit into that mould.

        Not part of my communities. Just a conservative organisation that targets difference in our society while also doing a job that needs doing. Their own community with their own rules and structure that rewards conformity.

        • Antoine 2.1.3.1

          Yes, well, I wasn’t arguing that police and activism mixed well, a bit of an oil and water situation there unfortunately.

          A.

    • Cinny 2.2

      Bill, when you say…..

      For what it’s worth and in the same vein, I also find the “co-opting” of various communities and movements by political parties for the sake of “branding” pretty damned odious too.

      Would the national party and A&P shows be an example of such please?

      • Antoine 2.2.1

        I think its only odious when it’s unwelcome to a substantial fraction of the co-opted community. For instance, John Key at the Big Gay Out.

        I don’t think the National Party is particularly unwelcome at an A&P show given that the rural community tends to lean right (on average).

        A.

      • Bill 2.2.2

        I’m not so sure that an A&P show would constitute much by way of being an expression of any particular community/culture in the same way as the Pride Parade is – ie, A&P is more a bit like a car show or boat show.

        But yeah. I’ll think on it.

        • Wayne 2.2.2.1

          A&P shows in rural communities are far more important than car or boat shows. In rural New Zealand a vey large percentage of the population identify with A&P shows as being representative of their community.

          As for the Police issue, much of the problem stems from the fact that police have marched in uniform for several years. Changing the rules looks precious. As for the defence of the exclusion that the police are more racist than they used to be, frankly that is ridiculous. The use of the stats is not proof, in that racism is not the cause for the (marginal) increase in arrests.

          I suspect the reason the percentage of arrests is marginally up is due to gangs (Mongrel Mob, Headhunters etc). As overall crime decreases, the amount of crime committed by gang members probably increases, at least as a proportion of total crime. This would be particularly the case as gangs have been increasing in size in recent years. Also with the increased police focus on domestic violence.

          From my research in the Law Commission on domestic violence, it is a particularly acute problem within gangs. It may not worse than it ever was (ie pretty awful) but it now it is much more of a focus for police action. And maybe the victims of the domestic violence within gangs are less willing to put up with it, so actually call the police, which I know does occur.

          • Bill 2.2.2.1.1

            And society in general has a deep and well documented history of oppressing those who would identify with A&P shows as being an expression of their community 🙄

            In institutional terms, the police, like “the boss”, are not anyone’s friend Wayne. And it’s fine if they, like the boss, are offered whatever timely reminders of that fact that they may need, no?

    • Bill 2.3

      Seems from the comments that the (I thought clear) differentiation I made between individual police officers and the police force (ie – the institution) has been missed.

      • Antoine 2.3.1

        I understand but reject the distinction. A uniformed police officer represents the institution. If a uniformed police officer is part of the community, then by that token the police force is part of the community.

        A.

  3. Cinny 3

    Thanks so very much for your post Joel.

    You’ve explained so much more than the media has.

    Always had a fantastic time in the past at the Hero Parade in Auckland and the fabulous ‘Devotion’ parties in Wellywood. But never recalled uniformed police taking part. So have been a bit puzzled re this years Pride Parade.

    Makes much sense now, why the decision.

    May it all work out for a fantastic night and more awareness due to recent events.

    And may the LGBTQUIA community have their side of the story made more vocal than these bogus one sided sound bites some media are dishing out.

    Thanks again for explaining Joel, very much appreciated.

    • I feel love 3.1

      Thank you Joel, brilliant piece.

    • gsays 3.2

      i also want to say thank you.
      nothing is as black and white as advocates either side would have you believe.

      i have heard spokesfolk from each side speak on this (rnz) and found my opinion shift each time.

      thanks again for helping me be better informed.

  4. Antoine 4

    If I was involved in the parade I would not support the proposal for Police officers to take off their uniform.

    I would like to see a country where uniformed police officers can identify as gay (etc).

    Requiring marchers to remove their uniform, gives the impression that being gay (etc) is somehow incompatible with being a police officer.

    It also makes the community appear petulant (once viewed through the predictable media lens).

    Saying the above, I am sorry however for the past persecution that gay (etc) people have experienced at the hands of the State including the police.

    A.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      It’s not past persecution – it’s ongoing hence the requirement to remove police uniforms.

      • Antoine 4.1.1

        Fair call, strike the word ‘past’ from my last sentence. I remain of the opinion set out in the first 4 paras however. (Not that my voice has any weight in this discussion as I am not involved in the parade or the community)

        A.

        • Antoine 4.1.1.1

          On reflection I think the biggest risk here is that the Police come away with the message that “we (the gay (etc) community) don’t like you / don’t want your help”.

          A.

          • Joel Walsham 4.1.1.1.1

            And after reading the post is that honestly what you make of our position? That sort of reductive argument is neither helpful nor productive.

            • Antoine 4.1.1.1.1.1

              > And after reading the post is that honestly what you make of our position?

              No!

              It is what I think other people might (wrongly) make of it. Leaving the community with a worsened problem.

              A.

            • Tuppence Shrewsbury 4.1.1.1.1.2

              Neither is the view that lbgtqi+ police are police first and not LGBTQi+ second, regardless of how many internal battles they had to fight to be recognised and accepted. It’s persecution of a minority for the persecution of a minority.

              Its unhelpful to the movement in general.

              • Joel Walsham

                Which is exactly why police were not banned, instead invited to march without their uniform.

                • Tuppence Shrewsbury

                  “you can march, but only in clothes we like”

                  strange way to promote acceptance of LGTBQI+ culture and practices. it seems to me that you and fellow board members are saying you can only be openly out there if you belong to an approved clique.

            • Gabby 4.1.1.1.1.3

              You might have missed the nuances joely.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    For a minority community, who has a long history of discrimination, the irony seemed to be lost – if as a society, we based rights on majority opinions Homosexual Law Reform would have taken far longer than it did.

    I’m going to have to disagree with that. The problem isn’t majority opinions but that we, as a society, have failed to class rights as universal. This comes through in the language. We allow gay marriage. We passed legislation allowing it. This is the language of control and not that of acceptance and universality.

    Acceptance and universality should have had gays being married decades ago. In fact, pretty much as soon as the UNCHR was signed.

    But we could have put it to the vote as well:
    Do you think you should have the right to marry?
    Do you think you should have the right to be happy?

    I’m pretty sure would have got 100% acceptance on those and thus prove both the universality and the effectiveness of democracy when couched in the correct terms.

    We really do need to look at the language that is used in our political dealings and how it is twisted to bring about false perceptions.

    • Antoine 5.1

      Sorry but I don’t think that would have worked decades ago.

      State: “Do you think you should have the right to marry?”
      Populace: “Yes”
      State: “Surprise, you just agreed to legalise gay marriage”
      Populace: “No”

      A.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1

        Then we would have had the opportunity to discuss the universality of human rights. Because you can’t have human rights applicable only to a subset of humans.

        It’s either everyone has the right to be married or nobody does. Nobody gets a say on others being able to be married or not.

        • Antoine 5.1.1.1

          > It’s either everyone has the right to be married or nobody does.

          Oh, rubbish.

          Have a think about what you just said. If you still believe it and want to argue about it, then take it to Open Mike because I don’t want to clutter this thread with dismantling your argument (not that it would take long).

          A.

        • Gabby 5.1.1.2

          12 yos draccy?

    • swordfish 5.2

      Joel Walsham

      For a minority community, who has a long history of discrimination, the irony seemed to be lost – if as a society, we based rights on majority opinions Homosexual Law Reform would have taken far longer than it did.

      Draco T Bastard

      I’m going to have to disagree with that. The problem isn’t majority opinions but that we, as a society, have failed to class rights as universal.

      Agree, Draco … but I’d go a lot further than this. Joel’s empirical claim here is, itself, quite wrong.

      Homosexual Law reform certainly did enjoy majority support by the mid-1980s and (if memory serves me right – from looking at the poll data a few years ago) … majority support (or, at the very least, plurality support) existed as early as the mid 1970s when Venn Young’s bill was first introduced,

      New Zealand society wasn’t quite as morally conservative in the 70s and 80s as some would have us believe.

  6. DJ Ward 6

    I think you are making a mistake.

    It is an issue that I have had to deal with in my own examination of the role police play in men’s issues.
    There are things the police do to men that are an abhorrent, and as far as I’m concerned every one of them is involved in crimes, bigotry, etc. Carbon copies to many of the examples given.
    But what are the police. The reality is they are just people, make mistakes, believe in false things, have personality flaws. They’re a branch of Law and Order. They act as the mechanism that prevents anarchy, controls revenge, and does dangerous things for our safety.
    The police are controlled by policy from political forces. So the police are just a collection of public servants, controlled by the minister. Individuals may be mongrels, policy may support offending, punish victims etc but the institution should be still respected and celebrated.
    Individuals that take pride in there public service who take “pride” in there uniform for what it represents, who really only due to the human condition do bad things, shouldn’t be attacked by my beliefs and experience, or the trans experience, or Maori experience.

    Dictate to the policy makers, dictate to the politicians.

    Society has made massive change for the trans community. It has recognised wrongs, battled the oppressor like religion, invested money. The police may have many failures but it has also made massive improvement in its treatment of trans people. A recruit today is not responsible for the past.

    You don’t attack your enemy by trying to dictate to them, you sit at a table as friends and have a conversation, uniform included. There presence at the table shows they do care, that they too are looking for solutions.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      But what are the police. The reality is they are just people, make mistakes, believe in false things, have personality flaws. They’re a branch of Law and Order.

      And so they have the responsibility to be right rather than being unthinking morons. Amazingly enough, this is actually their job. They don’t get to hide behind the excuse of saying we’re just human.

      So the police are just a collection of public servants, controlled by the minister.

      The minister has no say in operational matters.

      That said, they do have the responsibility to ensure that the police are educated to an adequate level to carry their duties and that the police act appropriately while carrying out those duties.

      Individuals may be mongrels, policy may support offending, punish victims etc but the institution should be still respected and celebrated.

      The only time an institution of the state should be respected is when it’s doing it job properly. The police failing in this across many fronts.

      Respect needs to be earned and not just given blindly.

      The police may have many failures but it has also made massive improvement in its treatment of trans people.

      Did you miss the bit that mentioned that they’ve backslid?

      You don’t attack your enemy by trying to dictate to them, you sit at a table as friends and have a conversation, uniform included.

      Difficult to do that when the uniform wearers are refusing to accept that there’s a problem.

      • Joel Walsham 6.1.1

        There have been conversations – since 2014 actually. The inclusion of the Police in the Pride march was always done with the understanding and acknowledgement that there was “more work to be done.”

        Here we are in 2018 and by their own reporting we know that the situation has not improved. For the 2019 we don’t believe that it is fair to our marginalised communities, who do not participate in their own parade due to their concerns about police and past trauma, to continue allowing the full branding of the Police get to be included in a branding exercise that serves to paint the NZ Police has being a progressive force in our society.

        This approach is also markedly different to Corrections who themselves acknowledged that they have more work to do before they march in uniform and would prefer that their workers participate as equals in plain clothes.

        When this exact solution was offered to the Police it was them who left the table, went to the media, and shouted about being excluded from a parade that is ultimately not “theirs.” If it is not the cause that matters and it is the uniform that is more important to Police, then participation is not nor has it been for the right reason.

  7. Gosman 7

    What does Maori statistics around “Police brutality” (whatever that term actually means) got to do with the Pride parade?

    I can understand if the focus was on treatment of members of the LGBT community but the exact extent of this mistreatment is unknown beyond some anecdotal evidence.

    • Antoine 7.1

      > I can understand if the focus was on treatment of members of the LGBT community but the exact extent of this mistreatment is unknown beyond some anecdotal evidence.

      C’mon, man, being gay used to be illegal, how do you think gay people got from ‘free’ to ‘in court’, hint the police had something to do with it.

      A.

      PS But yes, the Maori thing puzzled me too. Seems like if that was the problem at hand, a more appropriate response would be ‘don’t let police come on the Marae in uniform’. Although good luck with that

      • Roflcopter 7.1.1

        “C’mon, man, being gay used to be illegal, how do you think gay people got from ‘free’ to ‘in court’, hint the police had something to do with it.”

        Not the Police… politicians. Police enforce laws enacted by politicians… blame them.

    • mickysavage 7.2

      It explains the depth of the feeling.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.3

      What does Maori statistics around “Police brutality” (whatever that term actually means) got to do with the Pride parade?

      It shows that, despite saying that they accept that there’s a problem, they’re not doing anything about that problem and that it’s getting worse.

      This can be projected on to the anecdotal evidence from the LGBTQI+ that it’s getting worse for them as well.

    • Joel Walsham 7.4

      There is a link to every one of the Tactical Options Research Reports released by the New Zealand Police – if you need clarity on what Police brutality is you can find it right there in the post.

      The first, and most excruciatingly obvious, reason that statistics around Maori are relevant is because Māori are LGBTQIA+ as well. In New Zealand we have the takatāpui community, and their voices were expressed loudly at the 5 community hui that have been held. There is also no doubt that in 2018 the Auckland Pride Parade was a very effective and relatively cheap PR exercise for the police, which allows for the New Zealand Police to attempt to sweep the fact that by their own measures their treatment of Māori is at best not improving and at worst going backwards under the carpet.

      Also, the focus is indeed on treatment on LGBTQIA+ people – however just because the evidence of something is not known beyond anecdotal evidence does not at all mean that it is not wide spread. In fact the opposite, links to multiple reports are again contained within the post, as any conversation with a room full of people who are trans and queer could tell you.

      Just because being gay or being trans is not itself a criminal act any more, does not mean that our community is not criminalised in a variety of other ways (again reports that relate to homeless, mental health and substance issues within the LGBTQIA+ community in New Zealand) are contained within the post.

  8. Chris T 8

    Apparently this isn’t the only bit of scandal over the parade.

    Labour’s Louisa Wall has let us know her views, in her delightful eloquent, yet subtle style on certain other groups who may be there.

    “I don’t wan’t any fucking TERFs at the Pride Parade!!”

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2018/11/louisa-wall-stokes-outrage-with-pride-parade-terf-comments.html

  9. I know this is going to a bit controversial, but I personally have no problem with Police being in the parade…as long as it’s done with a sort of YMCA vibe.

  10. Gosman 10

    I find it fascinating that the use of a boycott by those opposed to this decision is being criticised. People are surely free to choose not to support this Pride parade if they want.

    • I feel love 10.1

      I would support police marching in uniform if they didn’t boycott wearing fascinators.

      • DJ Ward 10.1.1

        A special issue of silicone batons, new wrist protecting high vis pink fluffy handcuffs, porn industry issue sunglasses, and borderline conservative unbuttoned shirts. Followed by Louise Nicolas in lingerie with a whip.

    • Joel Walsham 10.2

      We completely understand that it is an organisations prerogative where they give their money.

      Money follows money, and power follows power. What has been missing in this debate is an understanding and critical analysis of power.

      Capital is being used by corporations to side with the New Zealand Police and their “right” to wear a uniform in a parade that is administered by a Board who work to uphold certain kaupapa.

      Some businesses have shown that their true allies remain those who hold the most institutional power in New Zealander, rather than those who are expressing significant (and well backed up) concerns about the treatment of the LGBTQIA+ community by the Police.

      • Antoine 10.2.1

        > Some businesses have shown that their true allies remain those who hold the most institutional power in New Zealand

        “Surpriiiiise”

        A.

    • Craig Glen Eden 10.3

      People can do what they like within the bounds of the law. But at the end of the day it’s the Auckland Pride members that get decide who and what is in the Auckland Pride March. The police have no right to push their right to be there over the right of the transgender community to be treated lawfully and without unjustifiable force by the Police. For those who are pro Police to claim that Police are being excluded is clearly not true they are welcome just not in uniform. I find it strange that you think people who are pro the ban can’t express there opposition about those who are choosing to boycott the March. After all the Coropates that have pulled funding, have done so on a false claim of Police exclusion.

      • Gosman 10.3.1

        Police are being excluded from marching in the way they want. It would be like inviting Trans people to a meeting celebrating diversity but requesting they only come in gender appropriate clothes based on their gender at birth.

        • Joel Walsham 10.3.1.1

          I would love to know how a trans person goes home and takes their gender off at the end of the day.

          Your comments display a thinly veiled ignorance of any element of gender, gender identity and gender expression.

          Anyone who submits an application to the Auckland Pride Parade is subject to a decision by the Pride Board who are elected to uphold the kaupapa of the event.

        • Craig Glen Eden 10.3.1.2

          “Police are being excluded from Marching in the way they want” You know this how? Gay Police have made it known they have not been consulted by the so called liaison officer. It is quite possible this person has gone totally rogue on the Police position that they won’t be matching if they can’t be in uniform.

  11. JanM 11

    I think the time has come for a massive overhaul of the training of the police force (as well as the teaching profession, but that’s for another day). No one who is paid by the state to uphold law and order should be allowed out into the community with a head full of ignorant preconceived notions about sections of the people they are meant to serve. Attitudes need to be challenged and changed at training level; ongoing professional training needs to be happening, and members of the force who display intransigent attitudes need to be weeded out. They are there to protect all of us, not just some of us according to their personal preferences. Prejudiced people who have the level of power available to them that the police force have are a danger to the whole community. If we allow the picking and choosing of those who deserve justice and decent treatment we lower ourselves to the level of the worst of the perpetrators who work in the name of all of us

    • Antoine 11.1

      Isn’t it the police force that trains the police force? So it’s going to be pretty tricky. I imagine they would put up a lot of resistance to an external agency trying to come in and change their process.

      A.

      • JanM 11.1.1

        Such as the government, who, through our taxes, pay them. They are, after all, public servants, though we seem to have forgotten what that means.

  12. Chris 12

    Thank you Joel for an excellent analysis that is very well written.

    Keep up the good work !

  13. Emily Doxxes 13

    So the Police arent allowed to march in Uniform in the pride parade,
    because they still have work to do in term of their behavior?

    I’m guessing if the Mongrel Mob wanted to turn up in their uniform and march,
    there wouldn’t be a problem.

    A gay or Lesbian police officer should be allowed to march.

    • Antoine 13.1

      > I’m guessing if the Mongrel Mob wanted to turn up in their uniform and march,
      there wouldn’t be a problem.

      Joel can confirm but I think that would indeed be a problem!

      A.

    • Siobhan 13.2

      Gay and lesbian officers were invited to march and were simply asked to wear something identifying, but not full uniform ie a printed T shirt.

      Its seems quite a simple and reasonable compromise to me.

      Really it is the Police who have created this shit storm. Given that they are the organisation still trying to adapt and evolve, and are trying to ‘win over’ support from all members of the LGBTQIA and Maori community, it is beholden on them (The Police) to make the compromise.

      In fact it would have been extra bonus points to them, as an organisation and as individuals, to make this compromise.

      Its a matter of ‘good manners’ making others feel comfortable rather than threatened.

      • Bewilderd 13.2.1

        The nz police are well respected , accepted and proud nz institution that have lost people or had seriously injured serving all nz, more so recently in Chc over the weekend In no way should they bow down to a committe of minority activists
        , accepting as such would be tantamount in accepting a view point which based on public feedback and in LQBT community as a whole is a minority view

    • Craig Glen Eden 13.3

      If the mongrel mob were paid by the tax payers to up hold the law and they were actually committing violence against others based on race sexual orientation and how people dress then no they wouldn’t be welcome. Ironically for you your example of the Mongrel mob is the Mongrel Mob accepts members regardless of skin colour hence the name Mongrel. Police officers don’t need there uniforms to participate in the parade of coarse.

      • Emily Doxxes 13.3.1

        Just out of interest Craig, do you personally think the Mongrel Mob should be allowed to attend and march in their uniform if they wanted to.

  14. Observer Tokoroa 14

    Endless appeasment

    I think the Pride Parade should be abandoned. The Maoris don’t like it.

    • Bewildered 14.1

      Yep organiser doing themselves no favours with their stance no matter how strongly they feel about it, and to be fair most of this is subjective and to dregree over precious feelings not facts. As Georgina Byers ( note not media) indicated the pride organiser stance is rediculously precious, move on

      • Craig Glen Eden 14.1.1

        I find it sad that Georgina won’t stand up for people in her own community who are still suffering at the hands of the Police. The very institution that should be protecting them is actually doing harm. Shame on Georgina and any other current or past Labour MP’s who supposedly represent a Party that use to stand for social Justice issues just like this one. It’s oh so easy to just move on when it’s not you being bashed or sexually assaulted. I wonder if it’s current leader thinks that our Police force should be more kind to Maori and Transgender People or if being kind is actually just a PR exercise much like the Police marching in the Pride Parade.

  15. Grant Insley 15

    This post has really scrambled me. Who boycotted what? THE Police got told not to show up in uniform. No boycott by the Police there. By all means turn up out of uniform, huh? I take that means to turn up as a private individual. It would be an operational direction to order frontline police to attend in civies, never heard of that happening either unless your position is plain clothes. So playing blame games isn’t going to progress any discussions. A public show of animosity is simply polarising what should be a collective with a bit of tolerance among themselves. Just look at the amount of social media discussion on the subject, some getting pretty heated too!. So, how can the Police Boycott an event they’ve been asked not to attend in their official capacity?

    • Joel Walsham 15.1

      They were not at all asked not to attend the Pride parade.

      The Police were asked not to attend in uniform, which was a compromise between the Police insisting that they walk in uniform and the feedback from the community (which occurred through 5 hui) that there was opposition to the police having any official participation in the parade.

      In response to the request, a decision was made by National Diversity Liaison Co-Ordinator Tracy Phillips to withdraw the Police’s application for the 2019 Parade. It is currently unclear what internal processes Tracy Phillips and the New Zealand Police undertook to decide on withdrawing their application.

      The Police could have handled this far more graciously, in a way that respected the decision-making process of the Auckland Pride Board, consulted rainbow members of the New Zealand Police, and didn’t lead to this very spat.

      • JanM 15.1.1

        But was there going to be any way in which the police could be identified as such? Is n’t the point of the police being there at all to show support for the parade and what it stands for and to try and improve the relationship? I understand this is a complex issue, and that there are members of the police force I wouldn’t put in charge of the hotel cat, but I would assume that the individuals have a choice and that they want to be in the parade because they believe in what it stands for

        • Joel Walsham 15.1.1.1

          Yes, the police were in fact encouraged to create a Pride tshirt, similar to what many other groups would do. Anything else was welcome, even police dogs, but just not a uniform that has symbolised a system of power that through their own admission has and continues to cause harm.

          This decision was in no way mean to harm the LGBTQIA+ and takatāpui officers who want to march with the parade – it was their own Diversity Liaison Co-Ordinator who decided that there would be no police marching if not in uniform.

          Again, the full participation of the LGBTQIA+ and takatāpui communities for whom Pride is meant to be about was at the centre of that decision. Many were expressing concerns about the ongoing institutional violence of the NZ Police, as well as systemic racism, homophobia and transphobia. I do not believe that it is fair to ask a community that has, and continues to, experienced significant harm at the hands of the Police to uncritically accept the wishes of that institution.

          • JanM 15.1.1.1.1

            I understand that – thanks Joel. I was just concerned that the police who wanted to be a part of the parade were able to be identified as police

      • Molly 15.1.2

        Joel, your post clearly spelt out the issues and considerations made by the Auckland Pride Board and the response of the NZ Police.

        There is more at stake than the supposed ‘public relations’ error some comments seem to focus on. As the Board, you have the reponsibility to hear and respond adequately to the concerns of your members, and you have done so.

        Instead of taking the opportunity to respond with goodwill and good intention, the NZ Police have retreated to their ‘safe space’, and display the ignorance and inflexibility that has caused such harm to many members of our communities – both in the past, and at present.

        Thanks again for your post, I only wish we had progressed to the stage where such explanations were unnecessary. It is not the role of the APB to act as a facilitator for a public community relations event for the NZ Police. That is a job for their media office. The Auckland Pride Board should be taking pride in this stance.

        • Joel Walsham 15.1.2.1

          Thanks for your support Molly.

          I am not personally on the Auckland Pride Board, however I am a member of Auckland Pride and remain committed to supporting the Board.

  16. Tiger Mountain 16

    great piece from Joel

    as a lifelong unionist and activist since the late 70s, I can honestly say the greatest moments of fear for my physical safety, and actual assaults, have usually come from the NZ Police on marches, demos, and in particular industrial disputes and pickets

    the cops routinely lie, bash, and break the law themselves, and have a foul, racist, sexist and throwback culture–yes there may be individuals that support Pride and the middle class Rainbow initiatives but so what in the overall state of their operations, I saw a marked Police “Rainbow car” in Whangarei a few weeks back and the drivers body language was so “beam me up”

    the fact is the cops are members of the state forces, and have a class role in enforcing the “property rights” of the capitalist class ahead of many other considerations, they arrive in minutes once you put up an effective picket on an employers operation, call them for being underpaid and exploited–not really…

    I marched in the mid 80s with a “Hug” badge and have followed these struggles for years, and my view is that no one should be left behind–no “ladder pulling” indeed, let the corporates and Police go their own way until everyone can be free to live their lives in safety

  17. DJ Ward 17

    So when else can we demand a group dresses as we require them too?

    I’m surprised Maori, especially boys don’t demand teachers wear uniforms.
    Should businessmen be banned from wearing suits because capitalism hurt me and it represents the white male patriarchy.
    Should biological females transitioning to who they are, males, be warned that actually as a male your likely to be treated like crap, just so your not shocked and offended by the experience. Maybe some transitioning obvious clothing so the public realises they should still be treated differently.
    Somebody may be offended by Islam, even hurt by it in some erroneous way. Should we make the Burka compulsory.
    Should we make a one only version dress code so we maximise diversity.

    If you don’t want the police at the parade as participants say so.

    If you place a demand on a definable group to express power and control over them, forcing them to admit guilt to something that not 1 of the participant police officers may have ever done. They may be gay, or trans, hyper sexual, or even hetro.

    It is a hypocrisy.
    Pride in who you are, whatever you may be, even a police officer.
    Imagine if we were all judged this way.

    • Molly 17.1

      “So when else can we demand a group dresses as we require them too?”

      DJ, anyone with common courtesy can answer this question.

      If you are invited to your grandmother’s 90th, you don’t turn up in your gumboots at the event. You match your clothes to the invitation and the reason for the event.

      Furthermore, if you are trying to build a relationship with the community who invited you, you respond with understanding to requests not to wear the uniform that many in that community associate with violence and harm.

      As someone who has obviously not experienced any police mistreatment, it may be hard for you to relate personally to their disquiet.

      But since you obviously are of an age where you can type a comment on this platform, you should also be able to understand that other people – even in NZ – even with the preponderance of well-meaning and well-intentioned police officers – can have had a negative experience.

      “If you place a demand on a definable group to express power and control over them,”
      Interesting take there. For me, the demand is from the police to allow them to attend in uniform. A uniform that denotes authority – and power and control. It seems strange that you should consider it otherwise.

      • DJ Ward 17.1.1

        Obviously not experienced any police mistreatment.

        No comment. Wrong subject.

        Denotes authority and power and control is a concept placed on them. Do you really think that they think that?

        There may be some power trippers and others who think they are gods gift to morals (Simon) but that is projecting your feelings and steriotyping them.
        The uniform is imaginary, like a flag, when we see it we construct a fantasy of its power.

        Again if you don’t want a police group involved say so.

        • Molly 17.1.1.1

          Read and respond, don’t just dismiss. Otherwise it becomes apparent there is no point trying to engage with you honestly.

      • Wayne 17.1.2

        Except the Police have paraded in the Pride Parade in full uniform for years with no apparent problem (or maybe there was an undercurrent of seething criticism of the police parading in uniform?).

        Changing the rules, coupled with the pretty inflammatory criticism of the police, is what has caused the current controversy. I am not surprised the police pulled out, given the level of criticism by the Board, and by Joel.

        And generally most broadly based organisations prefer to be seen as supporting the police, not taking sides with those who criticise the police at the level that the Board has done. So not surprising they puled out as well.

        I had always thought that the involvement in the Parade by the police and by a wide range of others was intended to reflect the full societal acceptance of the LBGTQI+ community.

        Bringing this issue up in the way that it has been seems to show that parts of the LBGTQI+ community (as represented by the Board) would prefer the original distinctiveness of being on the edge. As it was when I lived in Herne Bay in the 1980’s and early 1990s. Certain people therefore should be excluded. I noted the use of the photo was pretty directed at Judith, with the apparent intent of showing she be one of those excluded.

        • Muttonbird 17.1.2.1

          I’m sure there was a problem with police in uniform from 2014, just that the voices within the community hadn’t risen. Seems that point has come.

          Contrary to what you are suggesting, police involvement seems like a PR exercise rather than a celebration. This is concurrent with the recent corporatisiation of the event. It is apparent that big business wants to be seen at the event. most likely not to celebrate diversity but to get their branding across to tens of thousands of people.

          I’m not surprised a large part of this community is dismayed at the corporate takeover of the Pride Parade as those interests must a long way from the realties of of life for most of that community.

          Ahi Wi-Hong says, “It was good to see corporate support but it appeared to be an advertising scheme rather than a celebration of the queer community.”

          Perhaps if the corporates including police put their branding away then it would be more of a celebration that an exercise in marketing. That would be a way to show real and unconditional support

          https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/376851/this-does-not-feel-like-a-rainbow-parade-to-me

        • Muttonbird 17.1.2.2

          Also, I’m reminded by the comments of Wayne and other conformist conservatives on this thread of the The Green Party’s dual values.

          To the Nats it is unacceptable for an organisation like the Greens to even have a social policy let alone bat for the disenfranchised. To them, the Greens should stick to their environmental knitting, They should ‘stay in their lane’ as the NRA told emergency doctors recently. If the Greens did this then they would be more palatable to conservative ideological thought and could be more easily bought off.

          So too, according to RW folk, the Pride board should just represent some gay and lesbian people and get as much corporate sponsorship as possible – I mean what else it there to life but corporate sponsorship? Above all, according to the Nats, they should drop their concerns about Maori and other disenfranchised groups who are constantly at the sharp end of police aggression. After all, this is not their core business…

          • Wayne 17.1.2.2.1

            It doesn’t really concern me one way or the other whether the police participate or not.

            My comment was more on the fact that things have changed within the Board. Their prerogative. But they shouldn’t be surprised if the change in their “rules” creates controversy. Maybe that is exactly what they wanted. To shift the Parade to its more radical roots.

            Most of the gay people I know (typically more conservative business and professional people, though some in the artistic community) would not see themselves as really being represented by the current Board. But they wouldn’t mind that much either. Each to their own.

            Just as the Green Party makes its own choices. It is simply not a green party that has much in common with National, being essentially a quasi-socialist green party. Though clearly some of the Green MP’s are more comfortable with the Nats than others.

            • Chris 17.1.2.2.1.1

              You’ve added less to the discussion than Pete George could on a good day. That’s okay, though, because nobody expects you to understand cop / disenfranchised dynamics.

  18. Joel Walsham 18

    Yes, the police were in fact encouraged to create a Pride tshirt, similar to what many other groups would do. Anything else was welcome, even police dogs, but just not a uniform that has symbolised a system of power that through their own admission has and continues to cause harm.

    This decision was in no way mean to harm the LGBTQIA+ and takatāpui officers who want to march with the parade – it was their own Diversity Liaison Co-Ordinator who decided that there would be no police marching if not in uniform.

    Again, the full participation of the LGBTQIA+ and takatāpui communities for whom Pride is meant to be about was at the centre of that decision. Many were expressing concerns about the ongoing institutional violence of the NZ Police, as well as systemic racism, homophobia and transphobia. I do not believe that it is fair to ask a community that has, and continues to, experienced significant harm at the hands of the Police to uncritically accept the wishes of that institution.

  19. Ad 19

    This post has helped me.

    Sounded from the media like the usual left splitting.

    But thanks for making some sense of it.

  20. Visubversa 20

    Pride is dead in the water. The funders are pulling out and the various Rainbow communities are divided amongst themselves. All because of a small group who have weaponised the rhetoric of race and class (with a side excursion into age) in order to push an exteme ideology which involves the abolition of the prision system. See the Daily Blog exposition of their approach to child sexual abuse. https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2018/11/25/twitter-watch-file-under-nuance/

    They don’t care about people being “triggered” by symbols such as police uniforms as they are quite happy to allow various church groups to wear what they want and display whatever symbols they want – despite millennia of persecution which continues to be expressed in vile and disgusting ways on a regular and public basis.

    Their attack is on the Police because they see any involvement by police in any public ceremony or parade as a wedge issue to be exploited as part of the capitalist system they want to overthrow. They just don’t have the honesty to say so.

    • DJ Ward 20.1

      I would suggest people read the last comment on the link by Lucy.

      Good example how we can all have a comment read in isolation resulting in misinterpretation.

  21. Yes,.. I’ve changed my mind for the umpteenth time.
    Putting on a police uniform denotes power and control over other people
    Am I wrong to assume its only lgbtqetc cops who get to march?
    If they took the piss out of their uniforms, modifying them to render them amusing and non threatening, and to reflect the personality of the wearer(hopefully playful) it would be a different story.
    Maybe

    [Deleted your inadvertent duplicate comment] – B

  22. Pete 22

    I remember many years ago the cop who used to go around schools doing law related stuff. He was part of that ordinary working class community. The kids liked him. The problem back then was from his bosses and him playing in the staff v kids netball, and what he would wear. It was an activity which was meant to be a fun event. He was seen as part of the staff, taking part, getting into the spirit was his thing.

    I wonder if he’d be invited, welcome to take part in the game in 2018 with some kids seeing him as the symbol of ongoing institutional violence.

  23. Chris 23

    “By their own admission, police have work to do.”

    This should signal to everyone, including the cops, that excluding the cops this time around is okay. The cops should be pleased that someone is taking an interest in monitoring how well they’re doing. Their exclusion this time around should be seen as a yardstick or an incentive that they need to do better. It’s not a “we hate the pigs and always will” kind of statement. It’s a protest against cops treating an already marginalised group badly. Allowing the cops to participate now let’s them of the hook. It sends a message cops are doing okay by LGBTQIA+, but we know that’s not true. When that changes the cops will be included. Easy peasy.

  24. Doogs 24

    Having read some of the comments I have now scrolled to the bottom to make mine.

    To strip away all the niceties, police are an arm of the law, which in turn is a collection of rules and regulations about how society is expected to operate and the various sections of to inter-relate with each other. Despite much more complexity, that is essentially the baseline.

    ‘Society’, if there is such a thing embodied in one word, operates, goes along, develops and progresses and the law (police) provides a restraining and moderating influence on that. Given you accept that, then the police can be part of society and any community only as an addendum. Out of uniform, then individual officers can participate as a part of any community, with the reminder that they can, and do, arrest people even while not in uniform.

    It is a shame that things regarding the pride parade have descended into a bit of chaos, but, given the figures quoted in the post, I believe it is essentially a parade for the LBGTQIA community and having the police in uniform is an aberration.

  25. Lucy 25

    Thanks Joel best piece I have read about the whole debate. I don’t want to give the parade my opinion as I would not be marching as I am not within the demographic. I applaud your process to reach your decision. I am old enough to remember when homosexuality was illegal and did have friends who were convicted, so I know how hard won these rights are. I definitely feel that the debate is being controlled in a way that attempts to portray the police as being “exclude” by radicals. I remember when the feminist movement was hijacked in the same way – once white middle class women got their foot on the corporate ladder that was all that was needed. Feminism never changed the story for women of colour, working class women or disabled women but now we have to shut up because our rich sisters are on boards or are our managers, or give TED talks about feminist victories and if we agitate we will ruin it for them! So keep at it!

    • Delia 25.1

      I note a group called ‘terfs’ by others are wearing the dysfunction of the Pride parade and being blamed by an MP. Now feminism according to you was hijacked by white middle class feminists who did nothing for other women. I beg to differ those women along with working women set up the refuges, counselling services, etc that were fought for by women from all works of life..one thing did not change when I watched the hui regarding the police at the parade it was all conveniently shifted by an MP to lay the blame on a group of women.Women still continuing the fight to maintain the gains that women have made. They are accused of transphobia, they are better described as feminists and not even particularly radical ones at that. Now they are banned from the Parade. Nice work. Some how, some way, the blame got dumped on feminist women.

    • SHG 25.2

      sigh, pointless

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