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Congratulations for lgbti youth advocate

Wed 14 Jan 2015 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

MPs and lgbti youth groups have been quick to congratulate Tabby Besley, who is to be honoured by The Queen for her work with InsideOUT. The 22-year-old is one of 60 people from around the Commonwealth who are being recognised as exceptional leaders in their community, in the first ever Queen’s Young Leaders Award. Besley will be presented with her honour by The Queen in London in June. She is the only New Zealander selected, and has been chosen in recognition of her work to ensure that young people of diverse sexual orientations and genders feel supported at school. Besley’s passion for lgbti youth work began when she came out as queer at high school in Nelson, and was supported by peers. She went on to set up peer support groups at other schools and then to work at Q-Youth’s drop-in centre. Rosemary Linde has, who has been with Q-Youth from its formation in 2010, says she is absolutely delighted Besley is to be honoured. “She is incredibly passionate about glbti youth and this is reflected in the work she has done, and continues to do for the queer youth community. “From the early days of Q-Youth she has worked tirelessly to make the world a safer place for queer youth, and this hasn't been easy at times. “Over the years I have known Tabby, she has run workshops, organised hui, visited schools, spoken to various groups, all with the aim of making the world a more inclusive place for our queer youth. I am immensely proud of what Tabby has achieved, and I can't think of a more deserving recipient.” Besley with Maryan Street, who says she is a hero. (picture: The Vodafone Foundation). Linde’s comments are echoed by former Labour MP Maryan Street, who co-Chaired Q-Youth with Besley, when Besley was still at school. “We learned a lot on that journey and Tabby has taken all that knowledge and experience forward for the sake of other lgbti young people across New Zealand. She is a hero. Well done Tabby!” Street has posted on Facebook. After moving from Nelson to Wellington, Besley started QSA Network Aotearoa, which was yesterday officially rebranded as InsideOUT. The group has had significant traction in its work with young people, whānau, schools, youth service providers and communities, to make New Zealand a safer place for all young people of diverse genders and sexualities. Green MP Kevin Hague, who like Street is a lgbti youth advocate, says Besley’s award is wonderful. “I first met Tabby as a new MP in Nelson, and in the years since we have often found ourselves working together. Tabby is a really effective leader who inspires others with her passion and determination, and backs that up with great organisational skills and sense of humour,” he says. “The best possible tribute is knowing that her work has made so many lives so much better. But I guess tea with the queen is nice as well!” One of the groups which has worked alongside InsideOUT is lgbti youth support and advocacy service RainbowYOUTH. Its Communications Manager Toni Duder has sent “a huge, warm and fuzzy congratulations to Tabby,” from the staff and board. “She works tirelessly and utterly deserves this accolade. We're proud to work alongside her in various projects and can attest to her hard work, passion and leadership,” Duder says. “Once again, congratulations Tabby from your friends at RY.” Besley is also a semi-finalist for Young New Zealander of the Year.     

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Wednesday, 14th January 2015 - 8:26am

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