OPINION: The news cycle this week has been full of debate about police marching in Auckland's Pride Parade.
It's an issue that has divided the LGBTI community like nothing else in recent times, and both sides have their position set in stone.
This debate has shone the light on some other opinions about the parade and the festival as a whole.
"Who needs Pride anyway? Being gay is so mainstream now."
Being gay may be 'mainstream' and accepted in places like Ponsonby or Remuera, but spend some time in a small town where there is no queer support service, or talk to journalist Kim Baker Wilson who spoke openly about the day he was brutally beaten in a homophobic attack. All he remembers is "being called a f****t" then receiving a hard punch to the left of his head. Pride allows us to celebrate his amazing recovery.
All it takes is a quick Google search to see it's not all sunshine and rainbows in the LGBTI world:
- Rainbow suicide rate five times higher
- Man jailed for homophobic assault said he was showing victim 'brotherly discipline'
- Openly gay rugby player Gareth Thomas beaten in homophobic Cardiff attack
- Nine-year-old boy dies after homophobic bullying from classmates
Pride allows us to spread awareness in the hope these types of headlines will stop.
Then there's the issue of family acceptance. Lifewise says 26 percent of LGBTI youth in Aotearoa who come out to family are subsequently disowned and become homeless. Pride allows us to send a message that things will get better and they do belong.
"We don't have religious parades or festivals about other sexualities"
It's true that there is no parade celebrating Christianity, just Christmas and Easter where the country grinds to a halt to mark its existence. I'm sure the LGBTI community would happily swap a parade for that any day.
Then there's the annual Santa Parade that celebrates a jolly old man based on a character created by Coca-Cola.
If the idea of a happy inclusive celebration of our nation's diversity isn't for you, then maybe skip the Pride Festival, but don't tell me it's not needed.
Dan Lake is Newshub's Travel editor and host of The Outlook, a podcast about queer news, views and culture.