Pink Shirt Day is the perfect time for politicians of all stripes to launch a cross-party LGBTI working group. MPs put aside their differences today and donned pink shirts to take a stand against the bullying of LGBTI people in New Zealand.
The group has been established to provide education, leadership and legislative progress on LGBTI rights. It was initiated by Green Party MP Jan Logie and includes 12 members from National, Labour, NZ First, Act and the Greens.
“We are hoping others will see the importance of the work we are tackling and want to join us,” says Ms Logie.
“Pink Shirt Day is about working together to stop bullying by celebrating people's difference and promoting positive relationships. Sadly, LGBTI youth are three times as likely as their peers to be bullied at school. We need to stop that happening and change our culture of bullying,” says Labour MP Louisa Wall.
“A recent Westpac survey found discrimination is still rife in our workplaces as well, and an international survey has found disturbingly high levels of homophobia in sports in NZ. I’m proud to be working towards a solution to these shameful situations.” says National MP, Paul Foster-Bell.
“Last year a New Zealand group reported to the UN that there remain a number of barriers to the realisation of LGBTI rights in NZ. I think it’s important for MPs and parliament to consider those concerns,” says NZ First MP Denis O’Rourke.
Act Party Leader David Seymour says: “We believe in the equality of all human beings and we still have legislative and policy work to do to realise those rights for LGBTI people.”
“One the highlights of the last parliament term was MPs coming together to pass Louisa Wall’s Marriage Equality Act. We hope to create more opportunities for that kind of successful collaboration,” says Ms Logie, “and to echo the theme of Pink Shirt Day this year, we’re going to Speak up. Stand together. Stop bullying.”
Note: LGBTI stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex. It is an umbrella term which embraces a matrix of sexual preferences, orientations, and gender identities of the not-exclusively- heterosexual-and-gender nonconforming community.