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Hamilton Pride Week: December 1 to 9, 2007

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    Hamilton Pride Week: December 1 to 9, 2007 - 29-Nov-2007
    Hamilton Pride Week, the first annual celebration for Waikato's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities, is launching on Saturday December 1 with the RED Party at Glamz in Garden Place.

    December 1st is World AIDS Day, and the RED Party will raise funds for people living with HIV as well as celebrating and remembering those who have lost their lives to AIDS-related illnesses.

    Pride Week is organized and supported by several community groups, including the New Zealand AIDS Foundation, who is this year's principal sponsor.

    "HIV is still a serious issue for gay, bisexual and takataapui men, who are the highest risk group for infection in New Zealand," says NZAF Gay Men's Health promoter Geoff Rua'ine. "One new diagnosis was recorded every five days in 2006. We're here as part of Pride Week to remind people that catching a virus is easy - so we should all be using condoms for anal sex, no exceptions."

    A wide variety of events is taking place throughout the week, including a special benefit screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Victoria Cinema on Wednesday December 5.

    "Celebrate Pride Week in Riff Raff’s home town with the ultimate in camp participation," says organiser Lisa Stone. "Filmgoers can join in the fun of this cult classic movie by doing the time warp, using props, and dressing as their favourite characters. Props bags are available at the theatre with the proceeds going to NZAF."

    Tuesday December 4 sees award-winning author Peter Wells in town to discuss his latest book, "Lucky Bastard", as part of the "Sex, Sexuality and Text on Campus” evening at Waikato University. The event will be held at the Academy of Performing Arts from 6pm, and Wells will be joined by Jessica Hutchings, co-editor of the new book "Sexualities and Stories of Indigenous People".

    The book is a collection of 17 essays which explore aspects of being takataapui – a word which traditionally means "intimate companion of the same sex", but which has come to represent non-heterosexual Maori identities. "The contributors to this book are people who have overcome many challenges related to their sexuality," Hutchings says. "Some stories are inspiring, others are saddening, but all are relevant to who we are today as people."

    Pride Week comes to a close on Sunday December 9, with the return of the famous Gordonton Picnic at Hukanui Park.

    "The picnic started back in 1992, and hasn't been held for several years," says Geoff Rua'ine. "Auckland's Big Gay Out event in February has been attracting crowds who travel from Hamilton, which is great, but we wanted to bring back a local event for GLBT people in the Waikato to celebrate with their families and whanau."

    Tickets for both the RED Party ($10) and the Rocky Horror screening ($12) can be booked through the NZAF centre in Hamilton on (07) 838 3557. The Gordonton Picnic is a gold coin entry. The proceeds of all three events will be donated to NZAF.

    The full events programme for Hamilton Pride Week can be downloaded from the website
    Ref: - NZAF - Hamilton Pride Week

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