© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2024

The future is bright for New Zealand's Rainbow community

Ava Whitworth
Trans-right-rally support
Many show support at "Stand-for-Solidarity"  Photo supplied by Shutterbug Photography

After hate speech and anti-trans rallies - the Rainbow community is standing strong and proud.

New Zealand is known for being a liberal nation. We were the first country to give women the right to vote, the first country to have an openly transgender politician, and now hold the title of most Rainbow Parliaments in the world.

Our government consists of 10% of our MPs: openly, gay, lesbian, and transgender.

This perception may be about to change. 

An anti-trans activist known as ‘Posie-Parker’ entered our country last week, and many NZ LGBTQIA+ community groups pushed Immigration New Zealand to deny her grounds for entry as she posed a threat to the public.

 Following this event, there have been fears that this will put the progression of the Rainbow community in New Zealand at risk.


Jennifer Sheilds
Jennifer Sheilds at "Stand-in-Solidarity" Photo supplied by Shutterbug Photography

Qtopia is a social support network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, takataapui, fa’afafine and all diverse/questioning (rainbow) young people in Waitaha (Canterbury). 

They run weekly social groups in Christchurch and work within the education and health sectors to further support the Rainbow community.

This group planned and implemented a “Stand in Solidarity” trans-rights rally in the heart of Otautahi showing that transphobia is not welcome in the community.

 One thousand people showed up and stood with signs, banners, and words of support.

Qtopia advocate Jennifer Shields helped run this event.


mag image 3
Trans-rally-right supportive sign Photo supplied by Shutterbug Photography 
“Young people now have so much more access to languages, community, visibility and acceptance - The young people we work with are so understanding with each other. They have such a rich sense of identity of community, justice and equity”

 She strongly feels there are positives to be taken away from the negative connotations of the anti-trans protests influenced by Posie-Parker.

“We can also see how much of a positive impact a public stand like this can have - after the last week or so watching all this happen I want people to see how many people turned up to support us and to say no, that's not ok.”

She understands the fear but reassures that the support is stronger than ever. Sadly, anti-trans hate speech and overall homophobia are common occurrences, and will not stop anytime soon.

 The group chose to use this to their advantage by making it a platform for education and rally support.

Although they are maintaining a positive mindset - Jennifer thinks the government could be doing more.

Labour has previously made statements on Posie-Parker's entrance to our country and shown support to those affected, but as the leading party, they have the power to do more. 

Many MPs made appearances at trans-rights rallies, however, they are more than capable of making changes to ensure damage like this will not occur again, Jennifer says. 

“There is no better time than right now for a government response.”

Her job is to ensure Qtopia continues to pave the way for the future of the Rainbow community. 

Young Kiwis now have the resources and free opportunities to attend local weekly support groups, which is progress in itself - it is only up from here.