Walking Tall at the 2017 Auckland Pride Parade
The Auckland Pride Parade is a special event for many people for many different reasons. It’s a celebration of life and diversity, an opportunity to be proud and most importantly, to have fun! ASB has been an active participant in pride events since 2014, and we’re excited to be back this year showing our support for the LGBTI community and walking tall with our team.
This is the first year we will have our own float led by our very own star, the glamourous Marcella Goulding. Marcel is the ASB Premium Centre Manager, and Business Development Manager for the Midlands region.
Ahead of this weekend’s parade, we spoke with Marcel about what pride really means, and how bringing your whole self to work is a truly liberating feeling.
I joined ASB over a year ago and during the interview process, one of the questions I had was around whether there was a pride network or unity group within the bank. On my first day there was an email inviting me to join ASB’s Unity Network. I’m now the Unity rep for Wellington and have been helping out with Pride Festival activity this weekend, as well as meeting regularly to talk about all sorts of items on the agenda for the LGBTI network within the bank and also for our customers to make dealing with ASB easier.
Drag queens keep the feather industry in business!
Getting ready can take a long time. It takes around three hours to put on the full regalia and it gets very hot.
I don’t work on costumes myself anymore. Back in the old days of drag you probably would work on your own costumes and a lot still do, but you can buy drag from all over the world now off eBay etc. My head dress is from Thailand, the dress is from Sydney and I’m currently breaking my shoes in for the parade this weekend.
Looking at pride parades around the world, Auckland’s parade is relatively young (4th / 5th year this year). In saying that, there have been some fantastic costumes. Some of the best have been in Sydney where some have been so big they are supported by wheels. Some of that level of costuming can take up to 6-12 months to construct. Drag queens keep the feather industry in business!
Walking tall with your colleagues.
I’m really proud to be able to walk tall with my colleagues from Unity and all of the supporters from within ASB at the parade this year - it’s going to be fantastic. It’s quite empowering and a very proud moment. I’ve marched in parades that haven’t been connected to my employer but marching under the banner of your employer is a special feeling and very enjoyable. Pride is celebration of who I am, the community, a celebration of life and diversity, and of course FUN. It’s an opportunity to let your hair down!
My favourite sights are the faces on the people who come along to watch. There’s always a lot of joy, a lot of cameras filming and photos being taken. I’ve lost count of selfie requests (possibly over a hundred which is very exciting) and I love the attention. Not only is this a joy for spectators but also the participants – it’s quite a freeing experience.
Two years ago I had a small disaster moment… There was a hole in the footpath and I fell over in front of the Mayor! My headdress came shooting off but I got a massive applause – a memory I will always have. There are so many special memories in pride parades or anything to do with pride festival really.
Corporate involvement in Pride events
Corporate involvement is fantastic. We have almost 5000 employees at ASB and a large number of people that identify with LGBTI. It’s important to us to have an opportunity to participate and know that our employer supports us.
With celebration comes criticism
Walking tall means walking tall and bulletproof - putting yourself out there to be celebrated. Along with celebration though can come criticism, so it’s being able to walk tall through that, no matter what. It’s important to be able to bring your whole self to work and be proud of that. Pride season enables us to remember that it’s important for people to be comfortable with who they are, something that is business as usual for most, but for some it takes a lot of courage.
The pride parade is also about the spectators who may get strength from the experience. It can be really tough when coming to terms with your sexuality and it’s great to be able to stand tall, be a role model, and a source of inspiration and strength.
Auckland Pride Parade is happening this Saturday 25th February at 7:30pm from the north end of Ponsonby Road, near the Tole Street intersection, and ending just past Western Park.
ASB will be walking tall in the parade with our very own float, bubbles, lights, stilt walkers and the NZ Falcons rugby team. We’re excited to see you there!
Find out more about the 2017 Auckland Pride Festival.
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