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New pride director will challenge homo and transphobia in NZ

The board of the Auckland Pride Festival is delighted to announce the appointment of Max Tweedie as Director of Pride. Tweedie is a welcome addition to APFI team, having previously worked for organisations such as World Vision, the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, and the New Zealand AIDS Foundation. He’s a well-known figure in the community, using his talents to improve the lives of our rainbow communities, most recently demonstrated by the campaign he co-led to ban conversion therapy.

Max brings a fresh approach to the festival that the board are excited to see evolve. His passion, energy, and sense of social justice are evident in everything he does” says board member Emma Henderson. “He showed professionalism beyond his years during the interview process, and his love for the community and desire to make the Auckland Pride Festival an inclusive celebration of all things queer makes him the perfect fit for the role. As a well-known and beloved member of the community, we’re confident he will hit the ground running, leading Pride into an exciting future.”

After a successful AGM saw the introduction of new board members, a new grant attributing to a strong financial report, and a strategic plan approved, the Auckland Pride Festival is in a solid position to deliver a fantastic festival in 2020.

Tweedie wants to use his new role as Director of Pride to fight recently emboldened homophobia and transphobia, by growing Auckland Pride to empower and celebrate queer voices in our community like never before.

“We cannot be complacent in our continuing fight for equality,” says Tweedie. “Discrimination, whether it plays out in the public sphere or in our daily lives, remains a leading cause of distress for many in our communities. Just last week, an RNZ investigation uncovered persistent discrimination against members of our rainbow community in workplaces and demonstrated just how detrimental such discrimination is to the general well-being of queer people, especially those who are trans.”

Tweedie believes the Auckland Pride Festival plays an essential part in addressing these issues. “The Auckland Pride Festival provides a powerful queer platform for our community to challenge bigotry and its subsequent harms,” he says. “It’s an opportunity for us to celebrate our uniqueness, to let our shared values and experiences bring us together, and to challenge the status quo.”

Tweedie aims to design a festival which doesn’t shy away from challenging those who seek to silence and exclude queer identities of any kind. “The 2020 Auckland Pride Festival will strive to welcome in all of our rainbow communities, especially our trans, non-binary and intersex whānau. It will be a fabulous festival that is shaped by and reflective of our communities, that stays true to the roots of Pride, and amplifies the voices of those both celebrating and fighting for further change.” says Tweedie.

When asked about the challenge ahead, Tweedie says he is excited by the opportunity. “It’s a great honour to be appointed as the Director of Auckland Pride, to continue the incredible work of an organisation that showcases the incredible diversity and talent of our rainbow communities,” he says. “I’m committed to working alongside our communities, increasing the visibility of all our queer whānau, and involving their voices to help shape a festival we can all be proud of.”

Tweedie will officially assume his role as Director of Pride from 24 June 2019. The Auckland Pride Festival will run from 1 to 16 February 2020.

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