We encourage visitors to the site to read our ‘about us‘ before reading this post. We are a group of lesbians in NZ who want to create positive pro-lesbian spaces and politics.
It’s Pride Month in Wellington and as a part of that Out Wellington Inc. hosts a fair called Out in the Park.
We had our place at the fair confirmed in early February so we’ve been planning on attending for some time. We were excited to go along and show that it’s okay to be a lesbian and proud, but instead we’ve been banned because our kaupapa is not “inclusive” enough.
Festival directors Drew Hadwen and Karen Harris emailed us seemingly out of the blue rescinding our stall and invoice. They said that because they “welcome all people, groups and organisations who want to join with us to celebrate the amazing diversity and creativity in our LGBTIQ+ community” they can not have our lesbian feminist stall or “presence” at Out Wellington Inc. organised events.
We have written to Wellington City Council Mayor Justin Lester asking for a meeting to discuss whether he supports City Council funding going towards events that discriminate against lesbian groups.
It’s unclear whether the email and public comments telling us our presence is “not allowed” are supposed to serve as a trespass or warning. We have emailed Out Wellington Inc. to clarify whether we are (or might be) trespassed from Out in the Park for simply showing up. They have yet to reply.
We are far from the only lesbian feminists excluded from queer events and politics. Last year, lesbians were excluded from the Dyke March in the name of inclusivity in Canada, Argentinian lesbians put out a communiqué discussing lesbian exclusion from queer politics, and in the UK lesbian feminists continued to be ‘no-platformed’ and vilified for supporting lesbian rights.
In positive news, we are hosting our own lesbian only event in Wellington next week to look forward to. Apologies for the late notice, that appears to be in vogue. We hope some of the women on our email list will be able to join us!
Our group was honest and transparent in our application. We applied with our names, as The Lesbian Rights Alliance Aotearoa and said we are “a new and growing lesbian group and we are starting to expand our events and social activities in Wellington.”
Our application was accepted and our attendance at the event was publicly announced on the Out in the Park Facebook page.
Our kaupapa has been publicly available online since 6 June 2018.
The Police, Corrections and Young Nats will all have stalls at the event.