Social change will take time, Olympian says

Gay New Zealand Olympian Blake Skjellerup has welcomed the passage of the marriage equality law, saying it reflects the fact that New Zealand stands resolutely against discrimination, but points out there is still progress to be made.
The speedskater is a GLBT youth advocate and patron of the QSA (Queer-Straight Alliance) Network Aotearoa.
The group says the Bill’s passage is a major milestone in the journey towards a nation free of homophobia and transphobia.
However, it’s also expressed concern that there are many serious issues affecting the wellbeing of LGBTQI youth in New Zealand that remain unaddressed by Parliament.
“Growing up today is different to what it was 10 or 20 years ago,” Skjellerup says. “Each individual has a different story, their lives can be marred with struggles, and revelled with triumphs.
“We don’t know their story, but we need to make an effort to. QSA Network was established to allow the youth of today to educate and support one another, no matter their sexuality or gender identity.
“A law may have changed, but it will take some time before we see a social change, and a true understanding of each other’s differences. QSA Network is about diversity and understanding. The youth of today are inspiring, and we should not be so quick to judge them for their differences.”