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Acceptance and equality for LGBTQ+

Wednesday 18 May 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National

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Acceptance and equality for LGBTQ+
Pride Cook Islands merchandise sold quickly at their stall in front of BCI yesterday. Pictured are committee members and supporters Anna Koteka (seated left) and Liana Eggelton, standing is Peter French and Rachel Dun. Photo: Melina Etches/22051706

IDAHOBIT is the International Day against homophobia, biphobia, interphobia and transphobia, it is the day against LGBTQIA+ discrimination which is commemorated on May 17.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) moved on May 17 1990, to remove homosexuality from the Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, declassifying homosexuality as a mental disorder, and so IDAHOBIT was chosen to commemorate this.

President of Pride Cook Islands (a public campaign supporting efforts to decriminalise same-sex relations in the Cook Islands and raising awareness of the LGBTQI+ community), Karla Eggelton said, “IDAHOBIT is a call for a shared voice of love, tolerance, kindness and caring for one another.

“It speaks to breaking down prejudices and closed thinking, it encourages acceptance and equality.”

During the recent Youth Parliament Debate of the Crimes Bill, Pride Cook Islands was encouraged by “our future leaders of the Cook Islands showing the way,” Eggelton said.

Pride Cook Islands will continue to work to breakdown and remove discrimination against the Rainbow Community.

“Meitaki ma’ata to all our supporters and allies. “No more keeping silent, it is time to be visible,” said Eggelton.

The theme for this year is ‘Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Rights’.

President of Te Tiare Association (LGBTQI community group), Valentino Wichman said the theme focuses on LGBTQI people claiming their rights to live their sexualities and to express their gender(s) freely, but also demanding to be free from physical violence, conversion or correction ‘therapies’, forced sterilisation, hate crime, bullying, and rejection at all levels.

For Te Tiare Association, it is a relatively new celebration, “we stand in solidarity with our rainbow family around the world in ensuring that we live in a country where everyone is respected and celebrated.

“And trying to achieve our vision of leading our own destinies.

“It is ultimately about leaving a legacy of inclusiveness for future generations,” said Wichman.