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Discrimination Leads to Dunedin Diversity Hui

For Immediate Release

Discrimination Leads to Dunedin Diversity Hui

This Friday, 15th November, will see a professional development seminar that aims to inform the Dunedin professional community with a better understanding of Queer issues, and give them the chance to work on a strategy to help better assist agencies in Dunedin who work with the queer community.

“The Diversity Hui has emerged from a growing recognition that we have a very ad hoc and unsustainable approach to delivering queer support services across the Dunedin community.” Said Neill Ballantyne, OUSA Queer Support Coordinator, “We need to get back on track and work together to create a plan for the future of queer support in Dunedin.”

The hui aims to fill the gap that has been left by the reduction of queer support for the Dunedin community, and has attracted well known and talented presenters to lead discussions on the topics throughout the day including Labour MP, Grant Robertson.

“It is an honour to have someone as high-profile as MP Grant Robertson delivering the keynote speech at this hui.” Said Mr. Ballantyne, “Grant will give us a great insight into what it is like to fight for greater inclusion and rights for queer people at a national level.”

The goal for the OUSA Queer Support team is to build on the work they already do and help create a Dunedin network of professionals who can be identified as queer friendly, “From that we can grow the network within the city and use those skills and supporters to formulate a strategy to promote diversity in the city.” Says Mr. Ballantyne. “This is a fantastic opportunity to really analyse what it means to be an inclusive and affirming community for all people no matter what sex, sexuality, or gender identity we have.”

“The reality is that queer people still face a wide range of discrimination in Dunedin in a plethora of areas. Queer people sometimes still face public harassment just for showing affection to their same gendered partners or for looking queer.” Said Mr. Ballantyne, “This is not acceptable in 21st century New Zealand and we are working hard to increase the wellbeing and safety of all Dunedinites.”

The Diversity Hui is open by invitation to people representing social service agencies, education providers and government organisations who work with the queer community in Dunedin. Those wishing to attend can contact Neill Ballantyne by emailing neill@ousa.org.nz or by phoning 03 479 5445.


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