Lesbian culture up front and personal

GAY PRIDE: Cissy Rock is excited about the upcoming Heroes out West festival.
GAY PRIDE: Cissy Rock is excited about the upcoming Heroes out West festival.

Gay women will descend on West Auckland next month as part of the annual Heroes Out West Festival.

The event is returning to Falls Park for its seventh year.

Event creator Cissy Rock says the outdoor gig is a celebration of lesbian culture and is for adults of any sexual orientation.

"Women don't have a lot of places where they can come together," she says.

"It is women performers coming together and putting queerness into West Auckland, having a picnic and a meeting of old friends.

"We welcome everyone from our own communities and our allies."

Ms Rock, 45, came up with the idea for the festival when she realised there were not many events for gay people in west Auckland.

"I said ‘I reckon we can put something on out here' and that's what we did.

"It's just grown and grown."

The New Lynn mother of three has been in a gay relationship for three years and says the biggest change is being comfortable in your own skin.

"I think the marriage amendment act has mainstreamed the idea of same-sex relationships.

"But in terms of people's attitudes and biases, they're still pretty much alive."

The festival receives one third of its funding from the Henderson-Massey Local Board and from other events held throughout the year.

Annie Crummer, Mihirangi the original loop artist and an all-women jazz band are just some of the all-female acts performing. There will also be a small cash bar on site.

With about 200 people expected at the adult-focused event, Ms Rock says a good time will be had by all.

"It will be as good as last year, perhaps even better."

For those who are interested in attending the event but do not have the funds to do so, the event organiser is happy to barter in return for a ticket.

"I accepted two jars of honey last year," Ms Rock says.

Heroes out West is on February 16 from 4pm till 8pm at Falls Park, 22 Alderman Drive, Henderson. Tickets cost $25 from the Women's Bookshop, 105 Ponsonby Rd or email cissy@lowdown.org.nz or $30 on the gate.

Western Leader