Activist Shaneel Lal has become the first transgender person to win a New Zealander of the Year award.
The 22-year-old has been named Young New Zealander of the Year for their work in the rainbow community.
They were instrumental in the fight to ban conversion therapy and in the recent protest against anti-trans campaigner Posie Parker.
I’m your Young New Zealander of the Year— Shaneel Lal (They/Them) (@shaneellall) March 30, 2023
Hey, trans folk, although we had a tough week and the attacks feel overwhelming, hear me, we are winning pic.twitter.com/74Fh3a6qXY
Shaneel Lal said their award sent a message to people like Posie Parker that their transphobia was not welcome in New Zealand.
They said they had no idea about the award and almost did not show up to accept it, but they were glad they did.