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LGBT youth leaders meet this weekend

Thu 25 Jan 2007 In: New Zealand Daily News

Improved acceptance and support for gay, lesbian, transgender and takataapui youth in the community is one of the aims of the Kaha Queer Youth Hui, to be held at Wellington's Tapu Te Ranga Marae this weekend. The hui is being run by the OUT THERE Youth Development Project, which aims to create communities that are safe and inclusive of sexuality and gender diversity. The project uses the word “queer” as an umbrella term to encompass lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, fa'afafine, and takataapui identities. Around 70 young gay, lesbian, takataapui and transgender community leaders from all over the country will attend the hui. “Kaha is a tool to help build queer young people's capacity to support themselves and each other in the communities they come from, especially schools where research shows queer youth to be particularly vulnerable,” Brown says. “12.9% of non-heterosexual students are bullied at least once a week.” A special forum at Kaha will discuss how queer youth can encourage acceptance in their local communities and schools, building on the achievements of groups like NAGS (Nayland Alliance of Gays and Straights), which has been running at Nayland College in Nelson since 2002. “Homophobic environments, isolation and invisibility damage the morale, emotional and physical well-being of queer youth, and groups like NAGS help develop and maintain safe and supportive learning environments,” Brown says. “We'd like to see groups like this in every high school.” Kaha will also include workshops on drug/alcohol issues, sexuality and relationships, safe sex and HIV. There will be a Q   Ref: Out There (m)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Thursday, 25th January 2007 - 12:00pm

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