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RainbowYOUTH asks Kiwis to stand up for LGBTIQA+ rights

Press Release – Rainbow Youth

LGBTIQA+ charity RainbowYOUTH has partnered with HELL to encourage diversity and equality in Aotearoa. Together, they aim to raise $75,000 for RainbowYOUTH by selling 3,000 limited-edition T-shirts bearing the slogan The Only HELL Im Going To.21 August 2018

RainbowYOUTH asks New Zealanders to stand up for LGBTIQA+ rights

LGBTIQA+ charity RainbowYOUTH has partnered with HELL to encourage diversity and equality in Aotearoa. Together, they aim to raise $75,000 for RainbowYOUTH by selling 3,000 limited-edition T-shirts bearing the slogan ‘The Only HELL I’m Going To’.

The custom-designed T-shirts will be available to buy online from 21 August, via the link hellrainbowyouth.com (preview hellrainbowyouth.co.nz). HELL Pizza will donate all proceeds from the T-shirt sales to the charity.

The campaign slogan is intended to empower allies to take a stand in support of the LGBTIQA+ community by reappropriating a highly publicised discriminatory slur.

“Our HELL is a place of diversity, equality and opportunity, not discrimination or negativity,” said HELL General Manager Ben Cumming. “We share these values with RainbowYOUTH and are very proud to back their cause.”

Campaign supporters – including a number of Kiwi celebrities – will be encouraged to post photos and videos of themselves wearing the T-shirt on social media. Using the handle#theonlyHELLimgoingto, the aim is to inspire a social movement in Aotearoa in support of LGBTIQA+ issues – in the style of #metoo or #takeaknee.

Well-known supporters include former All Black captain Andy Leslie, former Black Cap Mark Greatbatch, Silver Fern Ameliaranne Ekenasio, former Black Sox captain Mark Sorenson, Fat Freddy’s Drop vocalist Dallas Tamaira, international rugby union player and coach Filo Tiatia, actress Loren Taylor, Panhead founder Mike Neilson, and ex Saints captain Damien Ekenasio.

RainbowYOUTH Communications Manager and 2IC Toni Duder said the seriousness of the issues facing LGBTIQA+ individuals demands greater awareness and action in all areas of life.

“The LGBTIQA+ community around the world still faces devastating persecution,” said Duder. “In Aotearoa, discimination means that LGBTIQA+ youth have higher rates of negative mental health outcomes (such as self-harm, addiction and suicide) than their straight and cis-gender peers. With lives at stake, we can’t afford to take any steps backwards.”

Cumming said the campaign is a natural fit with the company’s long-running activities in support of young Kiwis and families, who are “going through or have been through ‘hell’”.

“RainbowYOUTH is an inspiring organisation that does a lot for the LGBTIQA+ community, so when we were approached by them and asked for help, we instantly wanted to get involved and quickly came up with the idea of producing a T-shirt,” said Cumming.

“Our goal is to have as many people as possible buy the T-shirts and wear them with pride to show their support.”

Frances Arns, Executive Director of RainbowYOUTH, said: “Positive public representation and dialogue about gender and sexuality is critical to sending a message to our young people that they are unique and wonderful.

“As a young person, you’re soaking in all of the attitudes and perspectives of society; let’s make sure the messages they’re getting about gender and sexuality are good ones.”

About RainbowYOUTH

RainbowYOUTH is a youth-led, youth-focused, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to helping improve the lives of LGBTIQA+ people up to the age of 27.

Established in 1989 to create a safe, inclusive, accepting and diverse family environment, the charity has grown from strength to strength and now has two offices in Aotearoa – with specialised peer support groups in Auckland, Dunedin, Kawerau, New Plymouth, Waihi, Rotorua, Tauranga and Whangarei.

LGBTIQA+ statistics

The following information has been taken from Suicide prevention and the rainbow population – A Strategy to Prevent Suicide in New Zealand 2017: Draft for public consultation.

There is little population data identifying the size of the LGBTIQA+ population in Aotearoa, however, indications are that it comprises between 6-15% of the population.

A 2015 review of NZ’s support sector for rainbow young people across NZ found that 76% of rainbow support groups were working with young people who were suicidal, 65% with young people who had lost friends to suicide, and nearly half had worked with a young person who had later died by suicide.

Image link: https://drive.google.com/a/hell.co.nz/file/d/137_I9N_NcsKW9BgV0sFeJvqoafIZy4cO/view?usp=sharing
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