Bisexual Welly teen sick of LGBTI bullying: 'I face discrimination from a***holes from both sides'

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1 NEWS

Kids in many Kiwi schools today didn't need teachers to tell them to shut up.

Day of Silence is a nationwide campaign being run at schools across New Zealand to give a voice to young people in the LGBT community.
Source: 1 NEWS

Day of Silence is a nationwide campaign being run at schools across New Zealand to give a voice to young people in the lesbian, gay, trans, intersex and bisexual community.

Students wear tape across their mouths, hold silence cards, or write 'day of silence' on their hands to highlight issues young people face.

The initiative was introduced to New Zealand three years ago by LGBTI youth advocacy group InsideOut, and 2016 is particularly special as it marks 30 years since homosexual law reform in the country.

National coordinator Tabby Besley says it's disappointing that in some ways, not much has changed.

"We've had no decrease in the amount of bullying that students of minority sexualities and gender face in over 10 years," Ms Besley says.

"That's really huge, and scary in a way that the government isn't doing more to try and stop that… 30 years on from homosexual law reform."

Year 13 Newlands College pupil Michael Sanson says he hopes Day of Silence will "push bullying into the light" for those "forced into the closet".

"I'm bisexual so I face discrimination from a***holes from both sides and it's really important to make everyone address it to decrease it. You can't really solve a problem without first facing it."

For students like Charlotte Earle, Yr 13, Newlands College, it's a day for all those who've experienced bullying in some form.

"I find the tape is a metaphor for that: 'everyone hates you, sit in a corner and shut up'. It's showing this is how it affects people, (and) the effect applies to everyone."

Jerome Cargill is an openly gay teacher and works at Newlands College. He says schools have an obligation to make safe places for all students.

"If we can empower young people to act when they see it, and to stand up for one another, then I think we're doing really well."

Members of the public can get involved in the campaign too, submitting a 'selfie for silence'.

By Rosel Labone

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