10 Mar 2019

Support for Greens' plan to help LGBTQI community

6:20 am on 10 March 2019

The Rainbow New Zealand Charitable Trust says the government is lacking a single entity where organisations like theirs can discuss problems facing the LGBTQI+ community.

21543261 - a pair of rainbow flags waving in wind against city background of west hollywood, california

Photo: 123RF

Yesterday Green MPJan Logie said at the launch of the annual Wellington Pride Festival that institutional discrimination and invisibility of the LGBTQI+ community needed to be removed at a government level.

Ms Logie said she would want to see a group dedicated to the Rainbow community.

She said problems like homelessness and mental health were left to under-resourced organisations that were often run by volunteers.

The Rainbow New Zealand Charitable Trust's chair Gresham Bradley said there has been a complete absence of any focus place where organisations can engage with the government across ministries.

"The idea that there would be some kind of central task force, cross ministerial group or actually a ministry in its own right would be a very exciting thing and give a lot of potential to address any number of issues that confront the community," he said.

He supported the idea of a dedicated team and said the first problems he'd want to see addressed would be those affecting the young LGBTQI+ community.

"There are huge issues in bullying in schools, homophobic behaviours of students. Schools are doing what they can but they are completely under-resourced, there are no or very few support systems available to schools," he said.

He added the Rainbow community were also over-represented in youth suicide statistics.

He agreed for too long volunteer organisations in the Rainbow Community have been under-resourced and cannot supply the level of support needed for individuals in the community.

"If you're a volunteer organisation and you spend most of your time trying to find the money just to keep going, then you've got something seriously wrong and that's the situation.

"All of them are struggling all the time to make ends meet, let alone to bring on qualified professionals who can provide either guidance and training for the volunteers or directly support the delivery of the services to the people who need it," he said.