Queer our Schools – 6 October

The Queer Avengers is launching its “Queer our Schools” campaign on 6 October with a march from the Ministry of Education at 45-47 Pipitea St, Thorndon, Wellington. The march will go to Midland Park on Lambton Quay for speeches and entertainment.

Queer Avengers youth-focused campaign is the first of three campaigns.

Queer Avengers demands shouldn’t come as a surprise to the Ministry of Education.

Queer Avengers claimed that for years they have flaunted their legal care-of-duty to provide a safe mental and physical environment for students. It has known since at least the last 2007 Youth Report that schools are not safe places for queer youth. 33% of GLB youth reported being bullied at school on the basis of their sexual identity.  Schools are not sites where queer identities are affirmed, where queer people can learn about their history and where they are encouraged to explore their queerness. If schools were affirming sites, the statistics on GLB youth making an actual attempt at suicide would not be five times higher than that for heterosexual students (20% as opposed to 4%). Further, the Ministry has also known since the 2008 Human Rights Commission’s report “To Be Who I Am” that schools remain simply inaccessible to many gender-variant youth. Education is a human right, yet the Ministry has done nothing to remove the barriers which make simply going to school a herculean task for youth who either don’t fit into the gender binary or are transitioning somewhere else along the spectrum.

Queer Avengers demands the Ministry of Education to provide:

  1. Government resourcing for the formation of student-led, community supported queer-straight alliances in every secondary school in the country.
  2. Incorporating sexuality and gender variance diversity into all relevant subjects, including history, health, science and English.
  3. Making schools accessible and safe for gender variant students:
  • A. Gender neutral bathrooms/private changing facilities
  • B. Non-gendered dress codes
  • C. Resources and education which fits the needs of gender variant students
  • D. Trans affirming spaces and role models

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