Home' The Wellingtonian : July 25th 2013 Contents 21
THE WELLINGTONIAN, JULY 25, 2013
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Queer breakthrough for Wellington
By REBECCA RUTHERFORD
Queer advocates: Schools Out's Kabel Manga, left, and Queer Straight Alliance Network's Tabby
Besley with some of the young people attending next weekend's PatchwerQ event.
Photo: REBECCA RUTHERFORD
Last week England and Wales joined
New Zealand in the growing list of coun-
tries allowing same-sex marriage.
But despite signs that homophobia is
diminishing, advocates for queer* youth
say transphobia remains rampant and
Tabby Besley, who chairs the Queer
Straight Alliance Network, has been
working with Kabel Manga, from Wel-
lington organisation Schools Out, to cre-
ate support networks for queer youth and
to combat discrimination.
This week their organisations combine
to host PatchwerQ, a four-day event
based on gender diversity and sexuality.
Besley said PatchwerQ Hui was a
chance for young people from the lower
North Island to connect with other young
people going through similar things, to
have fun, and to get the tools to go back
to their schools and set up queer-straight
The hui, open to 13- to 22-year-olds, is
from July 25 to 28 at Tapu Te Ranga
marae, Island Bay.
It will have workshops on personal
identity, sexual orientation and how to
run inclusive groups, as well as creating
art and performing in a talent show.
Besley said last year's hui was very
successful and provided solidarity for
queer individuals, who were often victim-
ised for expressing themselves.
We had someone from last year's hui
say, This is the first time I've felt human
in my life','' Besley said.
Not many [queer] youth can be them-
selves when they're at school or home,''
Brodie Fraser, who will be at the hui
this year, said the one queer meeting she
had been to was an amazing experience.
It's about being around like-minded
people and making friends and connect-
ing. It's really nice to know there are
other people out there who feel the same
way,'' she said.
A report on the wellbeing of high school
students, published by the University of
Auckland in 2009, said that half same /
both-sex-attracted students had
deliberately self-harmed, and that same /
both-sex-attracted students were five
times more likely to attempt suicide than
Bullying in schools is such a big prob-
lem,'' Besley said. Educating people is
one of the massive things that needs to
And transgender issues are com-
pletely different issues from sexuality.
People straight out say no [to the trans
community],'' Manga said.
Besley and Manga have been teaching
a Rainbow Youth education package
delivering information to school health
classes, and providing training for school
staff and youth services.
For information, visit patchwerqhui.
co.nz. Contact Tabby Besley on
027 331 4507 to attend.
*According to Queer Straight Alliance,
queer'' is used as an umbrella term to
describe gay, lesbian, bisexual, tran-
sgender, intersex, takataapui, asexual,
pansexual and any other shades of grey''.
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