This weekend saw the launch of Hamilton’s Pride Week. We attended a few activities of opening day, despite it’s an hour and a half drive each way.
The first activity of the week was a roller skating time, and though we arrived half an hour late, we had a great time while we were there. Andrew skated nearly the entire time, and I skated a few laps with him. It was fun watching people skating and doing all kinds of interesting moves. Andrew even skated backwards a bit.
This was the first time that I’ve skated in about a decade or more, and the first time Andrew has skated since Mexico. He used to take our little dog Mela on Sundays, when Guadalajara would close some streets to vehicular traffic just so that people could ride bikes and skate down them. Both Andrew and Mela loved it. We brought Andrew’s inline skates when we moved here, and this was the first opportunity for him to use them.
I commented that this was the first time I’d ever skated in a roller rink made of concrete, and Andrew was surprised to learn that they are usually made of wood in the US. Interesting differences.
After the skating ended, we had three hours before the next Hamilton Pride event. So, we drove up the road a ways to the Hamilton Gardens and walked through a daffodil exhibit. (We’d seen a sign as we drove past on the way to roller skating.) We were both surprised that there are so many varieties of daffodils. We have a few of this flower in our orchard and elsewhere around our place, and I was thinking that it would be very boring looking at hundreds of these same flowers. But there are MANY varieties.
Besides the flowers, there was also a cake decoration exhibit, and we got to vote for our favourites. After these exhibits, we walked around the grounds a bit in a light rain.
Then we went to a small mall for a bite to eat and were kicked out an hour later when the mall closed. Who ever heard of a mall closing at 6:00 on a Saturday night!?!?
We then drove to Browsers Book Shop for the next two events of Hamilton’s Gay Pride. There we enjoyed a presentation about Chris Brickell’s new book, Manly Affections, which is all about Robert Gant’s photographs from the 1880s and 90s. Andrew and I were lent his previous book, Mates and Lovers, which has a few of Gant’s photos, from the gay group here in Thames, and enjoyed both the text and the photos, all about the history of New Zealand homosexuality. Chris presented a slide show with just a few of the 230 photographs in his book. It was quite interesting, not only to see the photos, but to see Chris’ excitement about Robert Gant’s life.
Immediately following Chris’ presentation (and before his book signing time), Louisa Wall told us about her Marriage Equality Bill, which recently passed its first vote in Parliament. Louisa is an out gay Member of Parliament who authored the bill which will grant equal status to any two people who wants to marry, regardless of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. Louisa told of her trip to Africa to speak out against a bill which would allow the killing of homosexuals. Louisa is an intersting lady, and she is making a name for herself and opening doors for all of us.
Since it was already late and we still had an hour and a half drive back home, we didn’t attend the Pride Party, which started at 10 pm. There are several other activities this week in Hamilton, but we’ll probably not drive back there for any of them. It would be nice if Thames could have something, and we look forward to the return of Auckland’s Gay Pride this coming year.