Pride parade loud, proud – and short

Kapiti Observer - - FRONT PAGE - GED CANN

‘‘It was just way be­yond our ex­pec­ta­tions.’’

The Parade in Paeka¯ka¯riki was lit up on a rainy af­ter­noon on Satur­day as 200 rain­bow-clad peo­ple marched for queer pride.

It was an im­pres­sive turnout for a town of only 1600 peo­ple, and with the of­fi­cial parade only last­ing the dis­tance across a 10-me­tre pedes­trian cross­ing on the town’s main drag, the or­gan­is­ers are hop­ing to lodge an ap­pli­ca­tion with the Guin­ness World Records to claim the ti­tle of world’s short­est pride parade.

If they are suc­cess­ful, coor­gan­iser Val Lit­tle said there were plans to lobby the coun­cil to turn the pedes­trian cross­ing on Beach Rd per­ma­nently rain­bow coloured. Lit­tle said she was thrilled with the turnout.

‘‘It was just way be­yond our ex­pec­ta­tions, it was an in­cred­i­bly, heart-warm­ing, beau­ti­ful mo­ment,’’ she said. ‘‘It was in­ter­gen­er­a­tional, it was in­ter­ra­cial, it was ev­ery­thing.’’

The parade was part of the Rain­bow in the Vil­lage Paeka¯ka¯riki Pride Fes­ti­val, which started on Fri­day with drinks at a lo­cal ho­tel, and will end with a screen­ing of the movie Pride on Sun­day af­ter­noon.

The warm-up to the of­fi­cial parade be­gan at Paeka¯ka¯riki Me­mo­rial Hall and trav­elled down The Parade, up Beach Rd, and ended at St Peter’s Hall.

The fes­ti­val was ded­i­cated to Vir­ginia Rose Burns, an LGBT events or­gan­iser and cam­paigner who spent years rais­ing aware­ness.

De­spite the grow­ing ac­cep­tance, Lit­tle said there were still young peo­ple bul­lied at schools, and adults who could not come out in their work­places.

‘‘There’s still a long way to go, but I think the model we have in our com­mu­nity is that we cel­e­brate our pride rather than be­ing beaten down by that.’’

MARK COOTE

Many of the marchers wore rain­bow hats knit­ted by a lo­cal woman.

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