I grabbed my boyfriend’s hand at the Auckland Pride Walk this year and we were off. Snaking through Albert Park in the brilliant sunshine, up Queen Street and eventually finishing in the middle of Myers Park. I took a deep breath when it was all over; the experience had felt safe and calm and I left feeling really lucky. More than anything I felt super reflective of my privilege. As a white, gay man I don’t get too many funny looks, nasty comments and I’m not made to feel threatened by people that often.
Because of this privilege, the problems I face often are not the same as other people within the rainbow people. They seem diluted. I worry about my friends who fall within other facets of the community. Many of my rainbow counterparts are still facing an uphill battle for acceptance.
Barriers like the long wait time for gender reassignment surgery in New Zealand, non-consensual surgeries on intersex children and the Human Rights Act of 1993 not being as specific as it could be around prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity. The list goes on.
In this issue, I encourage you to take a look at Sophia Romanos’ ‘Who’s Ally?’ piece on what it means to be a solid ally for the LGBTTI+ community. That support can prove invaluable. I grew up around a couple of incredible allies who guided me, let me cry if I needed and made me laugh if I needed that too.
Also in this issue - we have a little guide to AUT’s all gender bathrooms. If you’re someone who would feel more comfortable using an all gender bathroom then the full list is on page 12 and includes locations across all three campuses. If you’re a rainbow individual and you’re keen to go on exchange, Shivani Rajan and Kaat Verheyen will talk you through some options that might work for you on page 30. Some of these overseas unis have really awesome things in place to support their rainbow communities which is great to see.
AUT also has its own brand new Rainbow Coordinator, Jessie Lewthwaite. I’ve met Jessie briefly and she seems awesome. The purpose of this role is to support students that fall under the LGBTTI+ umbrella so if you’re a member of the rainbow community and you’ve got something to say - she’s keen for you to get in touch.
Finally, I’d like to welcome you all back to uni - I hope you had a great little break and you’re ready to knuckle down again for the next little while.