National | Rainbow Community

‘It cuts really deep’ - local drag artist on K’ Rd vandalism

This is the second time this week a rainbow crossing has been painted over.

Police have been investigating vandalism of the rainbow pedestrian crossing on Karangahape Rd in Auckland Central after it was painted white at about 3.20 am Thursday morning.

This is the second time this week a rainbow crossing has been painted white with Tairāwhiti earlier this week getting the treatment from a group of protestors identifying themselves as Destiny Church members.

Māori drag artist Trinity Ice told Te Ao News the news about the crossing was upsetting.

“It cuts really deep because obviously, [for] our Auckland queer community, that is our hub, that is our space where we produce a lot of our queer events.

“It’s deeply upsetting to kind of have that done in a big city as progressive as we are in our pride events and our drag queens working all across Tāmaki Makaurau.

“It’s a bit of a kick in the guts,” she said.

Misinformation blamed on Destiny Church

She had been working on Karangahape Road for 15 years for most of her drag career and has done many drag queen story times.

Ice said those story times are just a person in a costume reading to the kids.

“It’s just like any other librarian that would run such a programme, dressing up, some glitter, some stamps, some bubbles, some laughs and just creating a really child-friendly atmosphere.

“I am aware of the misinformation online saying it’s ‘hyper-sexualised’ and it’s pushing on gender identity,” Ice said.

She said she would never push her sexuality or gender ideologies on the tamariki as that was the conversation parents had to have with their kids. She blamed Destiny Church for the recent up-tick in misinformation on drag story times.

“For some crazy reason, we are painted as this villain in this crazy witch hunt to kind of pin something on us that really just has no relevance to us.

“It hurts because of the misinformation on what they’ve been told to act on - and then we’re coming to vandalism in a public space of something that is really quite beautiful.”

Her message to the people who painted over the rainbow crossing was “get to know us.”

‘We’re very similar’

“At the end of the day, we’re all humans and I think everyone needs to respect each other’s way of life for who they are or what they are.

“Let’s not go back 20 years with all of the queer icons and people that have pushed for change and equality for us. We don’t come to your church in full drag, tell you what to do, and say you life is incorrect.

“I just want them to see that we’re just very similar to them,” Ice said.

Auckland City central area commander Inspector Grant Tetzlaff confirmed police have executed a search warrant at a property in Flat Bush in relation to the incident.

He said they made a number of enquiries into the incident this afternoon and located items of interest.

“Police attended an address in Flat Bush, which was believed to be linked to the owners of the registered vehicle. As a result of our enquiries, a number of items were seized.

“However, Police are yet to locate the vehicle involved.”

Police were now treating this morning’s vandalism on the rainbow crossing on Karangahape Road as a hate crime.

“Police have no tolerance for reports of this nature, which appear to directly target a particular sector of our diverse community, and we are treating this as a hate crime.”

Police were made aware of three people pouring paint on the rainbow crossing before leaving the area in a vehicle at about 3.20 am.

“The vehicle had the registration plates removed and the persons had their faces concealed.”

“The vehicle is a distinctive, high gloss grey or white colour, with black roof racks and mag wheels.”

Police have been to the scene and are reviewing security footage in the area to determine the identity of those responsible.

Auckland Transport’s group manager infrastructure project delivery Mark Banfield said he is saddened and disappointed about people who “willfully damaged” the crossing.

“This appalling act of vandalism happened at about 3:20 am and we have done our best to minimise the damage. The crossing is an important part of the street that celebrates the rainbow community and AT is committed to restoring it as soon as possible,” he said

AT would have a team in tonight to remove the paint.

Auckland Central MP and Green Party co-leader Chöle Swarbrick, whose office is located on the same road, said on social media she was in contact with “relevant authorities to have our Karangahape Rd rainbow crossing fixed immediately”.

“It’s sad and bizarre some people are spending their energy suppressing simple symbols of the visibility and pride of our - my - rainbow community. You can’t paint over our existence. Love always wins,” Swarbrick wrote.

Act Leader David Seymour said this was all due to cancel culture.

“When you have a culture where people are allowed to cancel each other, the intolerance, shut each other down on the basis you’re not allowed to have an opinion.

“Don’t be surprised when more and more people do it [paint rainbow crossing] and in a way, if you look at the attitude that was shown to those people at the Posie Parker rally, you are now seeing that similar attitude of intolerance, taking the law into your own hands shown to people making rainbow crossings and people doing rainbow readings at libraries,” Seymour said.

Police have asked anyone who knows anything about the incident to contact them using this file number 240328/6111.