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Rainbow community standing strong after K' Road rainbow crossing vandalism

16 April, 2024

Interview by Jasmine Gray, adapted by Oto Sequeira

OutLine Aotearoa volunteer coordinator, Jenn Tamati, says recent attacks against the LGBTQIA+ community “do not belong in a progressive, supportive, and inclusive society”.

The individual charged with painting over Karangahape Road's rainbow crossing, Ford O'Connor, has pleaded guilty and will pay $16,093 in reparations.

This incident follows other hate crimes targeting LGBTQIA+ people across the country in the past month. In March, Destiny Church members protested an R16 drag event at Gisborne Library and the town's rainbow crossing was painted over twice.

OutLine Aotearoa volunteer coordinator, Jenn Tamati, told 95bFM’s The Wire, that these incidents have been “stressful” and “threatening” for the community.

“We are disappointed in the whānau who engaged in this vandalism and have been spouting hateful and violent rhetoric.”

Tamati says homophobia and transphobia “do not belong in a progressive, supportive, and inclusive society”.

“Ideologies like this are extreme and not held by most New Zealanders.”

“Extinguishment and erasure do not create community and society for anyone.”

In response to recent events, Tamati says they have seen an outpouring of support for the Rainbow community.

“We never like having to respond to a negative event or hatefulness, but the support is strong and beautiful to see”.

“We love seeing whānau come into themselves and realise there are whole communities and places where they belong, with people who can relate to them.”

Central and local governments have denounced these acts, which Tamati says is positive. 

In a statement, Prime Minister, Christopher Luxon, called the K' Road rainbow crossing vandalism “unacceptable”. 

Tamati says ultimately, queer people deserve to thrive and to go about their day-to-day lives in peace.

“Please know you are loved, you are valued, and you do belong everywhere.”

OutLine Aotearoa is a community organisation specialising in providing rainbow mental health support.

Listen to the full interview

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air