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Safety In Schools for Queers

Thu 21 Apr 2005 In: Community

A campaign to make schools safe for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students and teachers will be launched at a national conference in Wellington, 11 and 12 June 2005. The campaign, Safety in Schools for Queers* (SS4Q), is an initiative that has brought together a number of prominent organisations and individuals including: The New Zealand AIDS Foundation, Rainbow Youth, the Human Rights Commission, the Post Primary Teachers' Association, Out There and the Family Planning Association. SS4Q campaign spokesperson, Sarah Helm of Out There, said a recent study found that 34 per cent of non-heterosexual students did not feel safe in school most of the time. "This is one of the biggest human rights issues facing the queer community – young people's right to go to school and be treated with respect and dignity. "The PPTA has told us that many gay teachers don't feel safe being out. "If they don't feel safe, how can students?" The study of 10,000 secondary students also showed that 13 per cent of non heterosexual youth or of the full total? were being bullied at least once a week. “This kind of harassment makes a huge dent in a young person's self esteem and mental health.” Some schools had made changes to be more inclusive of gay and transgender youth but there is also the issue of staff. The conference will discuss strategies and information about the situation in schools, and is open to young people, families, teachers, Boards of Trustees and interested people. Registrations can be made by going to:, or emailing *Queer is a reclaimed word used to describe lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, fa'afafine, and takataapui people. We acknowledge that it is not a word that all people associate themselves with. - 21st April 2005


First published: Thursday, 21st April 2005 - 12:00pm

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