New Zealand / Covid 19

Rainbow youth sector says Covid-19 response lacks funding for its communities

18:49 pm on 3 June 2020

A collective of rainbow organisations say the government's Rebuilding Together Budget lacks any specific funding for their communities at a time when they face more challenges than ever.

Photo: The Gender Spectrum Collection

In mid-May, the government unveiled a $50 billion recovery package as part of this year's Budget.

Rainbow communities were not named as a priority group however, despite being disproportionately affected by issues addressed in the Budget, the Youth Sector Rainbow Collective said.

Rainbow communities now more than ever faced significant challenges in employment, housing, family violence and mental health and without being named as a priority group "there is no assurance that the needs of rainbow young people will be specifically considered," the group said.

A far higher proportion - 71 percent - of trans and non-binary people experience high or very high psychological distress compared with only 8 percent of the general population, Counting Ourselves research showed.

"In order to combat this, we need to work towards creating a more sustainable and supportive mental health system," the collective said in a statement.

It called for a portion of the money set aside for the ongoing Covid-19 response to be allocated to national initiatives that would enable mental health and addition supports to be accessible and appropriate for rainbow youth.

It also urged for a targeted approach towards prioritising gender affirming healthcare for trans and non-binary people.

"District Health Boards were allocated a $3.9 billion funding boost along with $282.5 million to catch up on delayed health care such as specialist appointments and surgeries," it said.

The collective said access to gender-affirming healthcare is limited or uncertain and the situation is likely to worsen as resources are reprioritised to the Covid-19 response.

Ongoing service delivery that met the needs of VSC/intersex young people was also crucial, it said.

The Youth Sector Rainbow Collective represents advocates for the queer, gender diverse, Takatāpui and (VSC)/ intersex communities from national and local organisations; RainbowYOUTH, InsideOUT Kōaro, Waikato Queer Youth, OUTLine, New Zealand Aids Foundation, Dunedin Pride, Intersex Youth Aotearoa (ITANZ), Q Youth & Qtopia.

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Intersex Trust Aotearoa New Zealand

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