Newly released research by the All Right? campaign shows there’s still a long way to go to make Canterbury a safe and inclusive place for the LGBTQIA+ community.
All Right? manager Sue Turner says that while overall the rainbow community is optimistic and many things are getting better, many LGBTQIA+ people still face significant obstacles to their wellbeing.
“The good news is that 90% of research respondents said there was less homophobia than three years ago.
“But 30 years since New Zealand passed the Homosexual Law Reform Act, there are still barriers to our community feeling valued and accepted.”
The research shows that 74% of survey respondents had experienced negative or offensive comments in public over the last three years.
Sue says transphobia is particularly prevalent.
“Transgender people in Canterbury face very high levels of stigma and discrimination, with none of the 23 transgender respondents saying they felt safe if they could not ‘pass’ as cisgender."
The rainbow community contributes so much to our city, injecting vibrancy, excitement and compassion. Unfortunately, discrimination, bullying, privacy violations and things as simple as incorrect assumptions are holding us back, and our city is poorer for it.
“The LGBTQIA+ communities contribute so much to our community, and needs to be celebrated, not just tolerated.”
Sue says issues identified in the research included relationships with whānau, fear of coming out, challenges at school and work, and various issues within health settings and residential care facilities.
It’s shocking that one in three of the older people we spoke to were worried about not being looked after or respected if they were open about being LGBTQIA+ in a rest home. At the other end of the age spectrum, it’s clear that many young people do not feel safe in their own school, with fewer than half of people surveyed believing schools were safe for LGBTQIA+ students.
Alice Andersen from Qtopia says there are simple things people can do to make Christchurch a safer place for everyone.
“Supporting our rainbow community to feel included and valued doesn’t need to be hard. Simple things like being kind, not making assumptions, using inclusive language and calling out harmful language are things anyone can do,” says Alice.
All Right? have launched a new campaign designed to celebrate and give greater visibility to our local rainbow community. Informed by research, and timed to coincide with next week’s Christchurch Pride Week, our ‘More than All Right?’ campaign shines the light on local members of our rainbow community, and includes billboards and street posters of local LGBTQIA+ people from all walks of life.