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Posted by Philip on 19 November 2014, 8:25 pm in , , , , , , , , , , , ,

RainbowYOUTH turns 25

RainbowYOUTH logo with birthday hatUnfortunately I was unable unable to attend tonight's 25th reunion of RainbowYOUTH, "a charitable organisation providing support, information, advocacy and education for queer and trans* young people (aged between 13 and 28), their friends and Whānau, and those who work with queer and trans* youth."

Having had the honour of being their patron for the last few years I asked for a few words to be read on my behalf.  

Kia ora koutou. Happy 25th birthday RainbowYOUTH. My apologies for not being able to be here in person to address you this evening.

I remember being 25 like it was yesterday — alas it was, in fact, last century. 25 years ago I had just come out. Being young is hard enough — being young and different can be bloody difficult. I didn't have the benefit of the strong, embracing organisation that RY has become over the last two and a half decades. I'm glad that you have it now.

In the few years I have been a patron of RY I have been taken by the supportive, accepting and generous culture you have fostered. I've felt it on the occasions I've been in the office or around people who are part of the RY community — albeit less frequently than I'd like. Congratulations for that and keep working on it intentionally — it's unusual and a credit to you all.

I am also buoyed by the wonderful diversity of young queer and trans* people I meet through my association with RY. Diversity is the spice of life, they say, and what a spicy (and fruity) future generation we have to look forward to.

Finally, as someone in their 40s who grew up in less accepting times and was part of an earlier fight for human rights and acceptance of gender and sexual diversity, I'd like to say it was a privilege. I know there are other battles now and things aren't perfect, but I'm glad that you don't need to fight the same fight we did.

Never feel you owe anyone a debt of gratitude — feel free to enjoy what past generations have achieved. Go on to achieve more for generations to come.

So, have a great night and again, congratulations. Thank you for being the lovely, welcoming community that you are.

Arohanui.

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