Release: Pride in schools more important than ever

Today marks the beginning of Schools Pride Week in New Zealand, an important calendar event largely run by rainbow rangitahi to advocate for safer, more inclusive school environments.

June is also pride month globally, when communities around the world celebrate diversity and inclusion of rainbow communities.

“Labour has a proud track record on advancing equal rights. We led the charge on homosexual law reform, civil unions, and marriage equality. We stood up for what is right and banned conversion therapy,” Labour rainbow spokesperson Shanan Halbert said.

“We have come a long way as a country, but there is more work to do to make sure all New Zealanders live free of discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“He poho kererū, the kaupapa of Schools Pride Week Aotearoa is important to ensure that our rangatahi embrace being who they are and feel supported by friends, whanau, community, and political leaders.

“After a budget that had little for the rainbow community, it’s important that we voice our support for the organisations that work to help our rainbow rangatahi feel able to be their best selves.

“This government has also removed the sexuality guidelines from schools, which is a step backwards that will result in worse outcomes in mental health for rainbow rangatahi.

“The work that youth-led organisation InsideOUT Kōaro do has been instrumental in raising awareness, influencing policy and building safe and inclusive environment for our rangatahi. We need to ensure that these organisations are protected so that they can continue the important work that they do.

“Schools Pride Week is more important than ever. We need to be standing up for our rangatahi to be who they are, celebrating the colour and diversity that the rainbow community brings to Aotearoa New Zealand.

“I acknowledge every student, teacher, and school that has organised events and activities this week and wish them all the best. I’m excited to be a part of events at my local schools,” said Shanan Halbert.

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