Queer activists not homophobes vandalise New Zealand GAYTM


queer_activist_group_vandalises_gaytms_new_zealandA radical queer group has vandalised an ATM decorated with a Pride-themed design to protest “pinkwashing” by the bank.

The “GAYTM” was one of four rolled out by ANZ Bank in Auckland and Wellington to marks its sponsorship of Pride festivals in the two cities.

Incorporating colourful and flamboyant artist-commissioned designs, complete with rhinestones, the GAYTMs were widely seen as a welcome sign of support for the LGBT community from a large corporate.

On Thursday night, however, a GAYTM in Auckland was splattered with pink paint. Most, including the media, assumed that it was a homophobic act of vandalism. AZN tweeted that it was “sad” about the attack and that “clean up is in progress.”

Soon after, to many people’s surprise, a group calling itself “Queers Against Injustice” took credit for the attack, revealing in a statement that it had “targeted an ANZ GAYTM with pink paint symbolising pinkwashing.”

It described pinkwashing as “the way that institutions co-opt LGBT struggles to distract from and disguise unethical behaviour.”

The GAYTM was restored in time for the Auckland Pride Parade on Saturday

The GAYTM was restored in time for the Auckland Pride Parade on Saturday

The group explained that it objected to “the commercialisation of the Pride Festival” and argued that “…associating queer politics with personal banking within a gentrified area reduces the queer subject to a bourgeois, cis-gender, white, male subject, and in doing so reproduces many of the intersecting injustices by which queer subjects are marginalised.”

The activists stated that they also sought to draw attention “to the way ANZ is using GAYTMs to distract attention from the treatment of their workers” following a recent strike by the bank’s staff.

The statement, published on an arts and culture blog, was signed “anon”.

The GAYTM was cleaned up and restored in time for the Auckland Pride Parade on Saturday.

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