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Hernandez Pledges Increased Support to the Rainbow Community

19 August 2013

Council Candidate Francisco Hernandez Pledges Increased Support to the Rainbow Community

Council candidate Francisco Hernandez applauds the coming into effect of the Marriage Equality Legislation today as a ‘positive step for the rainbow and wider community towards creating a climate of acceptance and support for the queer community.’

However, Hernandez says that ‘There are still a lot of issues that the rainbow community, particularly rainbow youth face today. According to the Youth’07 Report, same/both-sex attracted young people faced higher rates of mental ill-health; were five times as likely to have attempted suicide and were nearly six times as likely to be bullied at school. These dire statistics highlights the need for more support.’

‘That’s why I’m proposing that the Dunedin City Council should create a Rainbow Support Coordinator in Dunedin. There’s been a lot of success with the support position on campus and I think that we should build on the success of the Support Coordinator on Campus in order to maintain and enhance a supportive environment for the rainbow community. ’

‘This Rainbow Support Coordinator would facilitate regular engagement with Dunedin’s rainbow community, undertake local research, facilitate rainbow networking and run support programmes with the overall objective of creating a supportive and affirming environment in order to enhance the wellbeing of the rainbow community.’

Francisco Hernandez has consulted with OUSA’s Queer Support coordinator Neill Ballantyne who has commented: “It’s often frustrating in my role, seeing the gap in the Dunedin sector for support for the rainbow communities, I can only do so much in my campus based role. I really appreciate that a council candidate is taking this issue seriously”

The OUSA Queer Representative Jonnie Prentice has also been consulted and has said: “I think it's a really great idea because a city wide queer support system would be a hugely important resource for a lot of LGBTQ youth that don't go to uni or polytechnic. It would break down a lot of barriers to getting support a lot of young people need.”

Francisco Hernandez also views this as a way to enhance Dunedin’s brand as a progressive, forward-thinking city to attract rainbow community visitors and potential citizens. ‘With the ‘pink-dollar’ (spending by the rainbow community) worth an estimated six billion pounds in the United Kingdom and up to $600 billion in the United States, there is a lot of potential to attract this market. This is a massive opportunity for Dunedin to not only alleviate the very real problems that the rainbow community, particularly rainbow youth, face today but also to attract visitors and potential citizens to the city.’


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