Camp aims to bolster youths' self respect

By Court Reporter

A camp for Northland homosexual and transgender youths aims to bolster "respect for self" in a safe and supportive environment.
The Takataapui Youth Camp at Marsden Bay is being held over Anzac weekend for takataapui, transgender, bisexual, fa'afafine, lesbian and gay individuals as well as those not sure about their sexual identity.
Aimed at people aged 16 to 25, the programme of activities and workshops is being finalised by representatives from Northland Health, Sexual Health, Aids Foundation, Rainbow Youth and NZ Police.
Northland police diversity liaison officer Constable Vicki Cunningham said statistics show that isolation, discrimination and hate crimes against people whose sexuality differs from what is considered "the norm" can lead to domestic, self-esteem and psychological issues, with male youth suicide an example of a tragic consequence.
"Instead of picking up the pieces down the line we want to educate these kids now on how to be careful and stay safe out there.
"This camp is to provide youth and young adults the support to celebrate who they are, and identify what is comfortable to them."
Constable Cunningham took over the diversity liaison officer role from Constable Greg Soljak at the beginning of the year.
The role was previously known as Gay and Lesbian Officer but was changed to reflect the inclusion of bisexual, transgender and intersex communities.
Evidence indicates that homosexually-oriented males account for more than half of male youth suicide problems.

- Northern Advocate

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