SS4Q campaign spokesperson, Sarah Helm of Out There, said a recent study found that 34 per cent of non-heterosexual students did not feel safe in school most of the time.
“This is one of the biggest human rights issues facing the queer community – young people’s right to go to school and be treated with respect and dignity.
“The PPTA has told us that many gay teachers don’t feel safe being out.
“If they don’t feel safe, how can students?”
The study of 10,000 secondary students also showed that 13 per cent of non heterosexual youth or of the full total? were being bullied at least once a week.
“This kind of harassment makes a huge dent in a young person’s self esteem and mental health.”
Some schools had made changes to be more inclusive of gay and transgender youth but there is also the issue of staff.
The conference will discuss strategies and information about the situation in schools, and is open to young people, families, teachers, Boards of Trustees and interested people.
Registrations can be made by going to: www.outthere.org.nz, or emailing email@example.com
*Queer is a reclaimed word used to describe lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, fa'afafine, and takatāpui people. We acknowledge that it is not a word that all people associate themselves with.