Rainbow Wellington – The Wellington Rainbow Network Incorporated is a registered Charity (No. CC43245 registered on 30/06/08) that was incorporated as a Society (Inc. No. 854300) on 15/07/1997 under the name “GAP-The Business and Professionals Association Incorporated”. Its name was changed from GAP to “The Wellington Rainbow Network Incorporated” on 19/05/2007 and it is widely recognised as having engaged in political advocacy as one of its primary (unstated) objects for years. Such advocacy work tends to go on under under the radar and is largely unnoticed by those who think the Network’s focus is on the more “visible” activities such as financing “events” for the “lesbian, gay,bisexual, transgender, and intersex (l,g.b,t,i) communities”.
An article published on GayNZ.com on 26th May 2013 provides reflections from Tony Simpson who has just stepped down after “the best part of a decade” on the Rainbow Wellington Board, mostly as chair. He reflects on some of his proudest RW [Rainbow Wellington] moments and the issues he thinks are most important moving ahead.
“Although RW tends to work under the radar and so its achievements go mostly unnoticed I would count among our successes: getting a major international insurance company to change its application forms to exclude some highly offensive personal questions.
“We have also been instrumental in reaching a position at our initiative with the Salvation Army which ensures that for the immediate future they will at worst remain neutral in any controversy over gay rights and at best take an active support role on some other issues if RW wants to build on it.
“It was also partly our pressure which narrowed the criteria for excluding gay men from blood donation.”
Tony Simpson says the group has also successfully prosecuted a couple of cases in the Human Rights Commission, one against the Blood Service, the other against the ANZ Bank, arising from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
“We have made our submissions to various Select Committees on legislation of interest to LGBTI people and, I flatter myself, had some effect on the outcomes, most latterly the marriage amendment legislation.
“We were able to bring a number of trans issues to the fore also by keeping up the pressure to have the recommendations of ‘To Be Who I Am’ implemented.
“My only regret is that I didn’t bring the blood donation matter to a final and successful conclusion although that is under way and there should be a further official review of international best practise this year.”
The “Objects” of this charity/lobby group are available on the Charities website www.charities.govt.nz
Rainbow Wellington is a non-profit association that aims to communicate with and educate the community at large on lesbian, gay,bisexual, transgender, and intersex (l,g.b,t,i) issues by:
1. Promoting a strong and positive sense of community for members of lgbti communities, in particular but not exclusively for those who are members of Rainbow Wellington, by encouraging social interaction, co-ordinating events of interest to them and celebrating our communities.
2. Offering support and encouragement to members of lgbti communities affected by discrimination and prejudice, and pursuing redress of discriminatory issues by engaging in public debate on such issues so that all those in lgbti communities enjoy the human rights available to all New Zealand citizens.
3 Providing financial assistance through grants and donations for individuals and groups undertaking specific activities that advance the causes of lgbti people.
4. Affiliating with and offering support to other organisations pursuing objectives consistent with those of Rainbow Wellington.
The whole purpose of this pressure (lobby) group seems to be to highlight the alleged denial of human rights to members of the glbti communities.
Rainbow Wellington is a group representing the interests of, and organising social functions and activities for, lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and related people in the greater Wellington region. We have about a hundred and thirty core members, individual, business and corporate, and a wider contact list of several further hundred gltb people. We publish regular electronic newsletters giving notice of our various activities, and keeping members and friends up to date on current events of interest.
We take up issues of concern to our community in the human rights field. We have, for example, recently been pursuing the limitations on blood donation by gay men, and are urging the government to fully implement the Human Rights Commission report on transgender discrimination. We also are currently taking a lead in initiatives to end homophobic bullying in schools, and have taken up such issues as single gender parent adoption and the gay marriage option.
RW Campaigns [involving political advocacy] include:
See article – “Rainbow WGN’s bad blood over gay ban”. 20 June 2008.
Submission on the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill. Written by Tony Simpson.