Statement for Homosexual Convictions Apology
Rainbow Wellington’s Statement for Homosexual Convictions Apology
Rainbow Wellington, as a representative of the LGBTQIAP+ community in New Zealand, welcomes the apology from the government to those affected by convictions for consensual homosexual activity before the Homosexual Law Reform Act was introduced in 1986.
Rainbow Wellington has a long history of ensuring the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and other sexual and gender minorities in New Zealand.
Many community members were affected directly by this discriminating law; it is estimated that around 1000 men still hold convictions for this homophobically defined crime. What this apology fails to recognise is the effect that this law had on parts of the wider LGBTQIAP+ community that lies outside of the ‘gay’ identity label. This law created a hateful environment and a stigma around all non-heterosexual sexualities and non-cis-gender identities, such as lesbian, bisexual, transgender and other queer identities.
Rainbow Wellington expresses sorrow for all the victims of this unjust law and hopes that with this historical apology, a small part of their defamed human dignity will be restored. It is hoped that the victims will find peace with this change. However, until this day, this criminal law is a taboo for the people involved as there is still shame attached to the homophobic ordeals through which they suffered.
Rainbow Wellington has faith that this action will build trust between the victims and the government who discriminated against them.
Furthermore, it should be expected that with this apology, the government will pay closer attention to the current day struggles that the LGBTQIAP+ community faces, including discrimination in access to healthcare, blood donation, transphobia in government services, lack of funding to community groups, high rates of youth suicide, and a lack of support services.
Former Rainbow Wellington board member Werimu Demchick sponsored a petition that was part of Rainbow Wellington’s campaign for a pardon and an apology from the government, a campaign which has lasted around two years.
Rainbow Wellington would also like to remember the victims who are not alive to hear this historical apology and hopes that they are resting in peace.
Rainbow Wellington continues to be the home of the LGBTQIAP+ community and allies and encourages anyone who needs support to reach out and know that they have a home to which they belong.