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Nation thinks pink in anti-bullying stand

Thu 14 Apr 2011 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

Kevin Hague has switched his party's green for pink and Rainbow Labour is accessorising as a nationwide stand against bullying takes hold from the Beehive, to workplaces, to classrooms. Pink Shirt Day has gained more traction than ever before in New Zealand this year, largely thanks to the hard work of Nelson's Q-Youth and Auckland's Rainbow Youth and the public stand of gay Olympian Blake Skjellerup. Hundreds of letters are being sent to Prime Minister John Key, urging him to make sexuality and gender education compulsory in schools. Green MP Kevin Hague says Greens leader Russel Norman advised him he had to actually iron his pink shirt before coming in to work today. "What has amazed me is the astonishing buzz that has taken hold this year," Hague has written on the Green Party's Frog Blog. "Pink Shirt Day is about standing up against all bullying, and rightly so, but I know people will understand that my strongest concern is with bullying of young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex people. I know all too well how the experience of being discriminated against or subjected to belittling or violent behaviour leads to the psychosocial risk factors that underpin many negative health and other social outcomes." Labour MP Louisa Wall is a passionate youth advocate and she will be clad in pink on what will be just her third day back in Parliament, after being sworn-in on Tuesday. Fellow Labour MP Charles Chauvel is wearing a “very pink tie” as standing orders prevent the wearing of t-shirts in the house, so his Mr Vintage pink shirt tee will remain in the closet. However he has been wearing it outside Parliament and says it's “marvelously slimming”. At last update Maryan Street was joking that she wanted to borrow a pink tie from Chauvel, whereas Grant Robertson explained there was some debate about whether his shirt was pink or purple. On the other side of the chamber Associate Health Minister Jonathan Coleman will once again wear pink, as he has in past years, as he strongly believes in the anti-bullying message. The quake in Christchurch hasn't stopped the anti-bullying message getting through, with Q-Topia members and facilitators planning to wear pink and take a peaceful walk from one end of Riccarton Mall to the other. “Consider it a simple stroll through the mall,” the group says. “We won't make you wave any rainbow flags or chant any war cries, it's just a way to show our unity for such a great cause. We have Riccarton Mall's permission so we won't be kicked out.” The deputy head boy at Fairfield College Jack Winter has arranged to sell pink wristbands on campus and fundraisefor anti-bullying causes, with a group of supporters also planning to wear pink. What are you doing for Pink Shirt Day? Email your pictures and stories to    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Thursday, 14th April 2011 - 10:05am

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