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Students Across NZ Go Silent Against LGBTI Bullying

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FOR RELEASE ON FRIDAY 9TH SEPTEMBER:

Today students across New Zealand will tape their mouths shut to draw attention to the silence surrounding homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic bullying in schools.

Day of Silence is the largest student-driven action for safe schools in the world, and was introduced to New Zealand as a national campaign three years ago by InsideOUT.

“This year a theme of our campaign is acknowledging that 2016 marks 30 years since the homosexual law reform in New Zealand,” says Tabby Besley, National Coordinator of LGBTI youth organisation InsideOUT.

As a reflection upon this history InsideOUT has repurposed audio from the debates in 1986 into a video campaign for Day of Silence - a day where people remain silent in representation of the silence and oppression the rainbow community faces. The contrast between historical audio with contemporary video shows about how far things have come and how much work there is yet to do.

“Unfortunately, we’re 30 years on and homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are present as ever in the lives of our young people,” says Besley. “The University of Auckland’s Youth 2000 studies show that there has been no decrease in this kind of bullying in over ten years, and a direct result of that is we’re losing young people.

“We want LGBTI people to know they are not alone and that their voices deserve to be heard; their identities are valid,” says Besley. “We want to see the Ministry of Education, schools and organisations across the country work with us to make every young person feel safe at school.”

InsideOUT’s Day of Silence campaign aims to spread awareness, bring visibility to the issue and most importantly, break the silence.
They encourage people to get involved with the campaign by submitting a 'Selfie for Silence' through their website www.dayofsilence.org.nz or on social media with the hashtag #dayofsilence. The campaign asks "What will you do to break the silence?”.

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