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Auckland City supports GLBT network

Wed 18 Oct 2006 In: New Zealand Daily News

A new GLBT citizen's network in Auckland will be launched tomorrow, sponsored by the Auckland City Council. Auckland Mayor Dick Hubbard will attend the launch of the network, which has been established by gay and lesbian community board members to foster a greater relationship with Auckland City's Partnership Committee, a 2005 Council initiative designed to improve relationships with the City's diverse communities, including religious and ethnic minorities. Network organiser Bruce Kilmister tells GayNZ.com the citizen's network will be a voice for Auckand's LGBT leaders. “This is the first time Auckland City Council has sponsored a LGBT network event,” Kilmister explains. “The Council have other sponsored network meetings, for example for the Chinese, Indian and interfaith communities. “It's an opportunity for us all the come together and swap ideas, information and plans for important dates.” Kilmister hopes tomorrow's first meeting will address issues such as the rise of HIV/AIDS, and whether or not there is a need from an LGBT Community Centre in Auckland. Guests invited include MP Maryan Street who will speak about getting LGBT views heard nationally; Warren Lindberg with the latest from the Human Rights Commission; and Christopher Dempsey, speaking about adopting the Declaration of Montreal - a global LGBT human right document signed in Canada this year by Georgina Beyer. The New Zealand AIDS Foundation says Auckland City's support of the network is a positive and inclusive step toward building a 21st Century city. “This is a recognition that GLBT people are both citizens and ratepayers, and a reminder that sexual orientation has been protected under both the Human Rights and Bill of Rights Act since 1993,” says NZAF Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier. “Auckland City's support for this new network will hopefully mean that GLBT citizens can enjoy the sort of assistance for community events that other groups have long taken for granted.” A recent AIDS Foundation examination of national survey data, including the Census, found that 45% of gay men live in Auckland. Auckland is also where three-quarters of last year's HIV infections among gay and bisexual men were contracted. “With gay and bisexual men vastly over-represented in HIV statistics, particularly in Auckland, they have health and support needs that are unique,” Le Mesurier says. “HIV thrives in environments where prejudice and social stigma directed at vulnerable minorities is seen as acceptable behaviour.” “The GLBT citizens network is an empowering initiative for a minority group that under previous Councils has been sent mixed signals about their rights to engage in the democratic process and be supported by the City,” Le Mesurier says. “Auckland City's move to be inclusive of all its diverse communities is a sign of true leadership.”     Ref: GayNZ.com, NZAF (m)

Credit: GayNZ.com News Staff

First published: Wednesday, 18th October 2006 - 12:00pm

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