Challenges persist for queer community

Radio NZ 11 August 2015
Many in the queer community fear same-sex marriage is being used as a universal solution for the challenges still confronting gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender individuals.

Advocates argue two years of marriage equality have had little impact on alarming youth suicide rates and ongoing prejudice and has swept more pressing issues out of the limelight.

The passing of Labour MP Louisa Wall’s Marriage Amendment Bill, in April 2013, marked a societal turning point for many.

The 77 – 44 vote was greeted by rapturous applause and a rousing rendition of the waiata Po Karekare Ana.  There was an air of celebration among the politicians and the packed public gallery.

The first same-sex marriages were held three months later.  In the next two years, nearly 1800 same-sex couples tied the knot in New Zealand.

However, some, such as Wellington gay, lesbian, bi-sexual  and transgender youth worker, Kassie Hartendorp, believe the legislation has changed little on the ground.

“All in all, I don’t think marriage equality would have any impact in their day to day lives.  There’s a reason why we still run support groups.


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