Wellington Scoop

National Day of Silence against homophobia and transphobia

Press Release – InsideOUT
Today thousands of students across New Zealand will take a vow of silence, to draw attention to the silence surrounding homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic bullying in their schools and communities.

Day of Silence is the largest student-driven action for safe schools in the world, and was introduced to New Zealand as a national campaign three years ago by InsideOUT, a national charity which works to make Aotearoa a safer place for young people of minority genders and sexualities.

This year’s campaign surrounds the idea of unlearning homophobia, transphobia and biphobia, and challenges people to look at where their assumptions and prejudice come from.

“Just this week we’ve seen three highly public acts of homophobia in New Zealand – the Hamilton city councillor who used homophobic slurs, the Auckland pastor who preached that gay people should be shot and a young man who was called faggot and beaten up on Cuba Street,” says Tabby Besley, National Coordinator of InsideOUT.

“Discrimination towards rainbow communities is still hugely prevalent in Aotearoa and more needs to be done to address it. Our Day of Silence campaign is about raising awareness around this issue, and asking New Zealanders to consider what part they play in ending the silence.”

Workplaces, organisations and individuals are joining schools to take actions to support rainbow communities, including fundraising for InsideOUT and taking a #selfieforsilence where they commit to an action to help break the silence about the effects of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

“The government’s new $100 million initiatives for mental health do not address any specific support for LGBTQIA+ youth, despite this population being 5x more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers in New Zealand,” says Tabby. “As we look to the upcoming election it’s important to consider what the political parties are committing to do for rainbow communities, and demand they take these statistics seriously.”

As their own ‘breaking the silence’ act InsideOUT are releasing a new resource, developed in partnership with Community Law Wellington & Hutt Valley. The resource is a legal FAQ for sexual and gender minority students, covering topics such as their rights regarding school balls, bullying, gender neutral options and the right to have a queer straight alliance.

Learn more and get involved at dayofsilence.org.nz

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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