The real home truths about di­ver­sity

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - FRONT PAGE -

The last ar­ti­cle writ­ten by me may have landed hard on some truths about so­ci­ety that we see all too of­ten.

To­day’s write-up may be par­tic­u­larly preva­lent right now con­sid­er­ing the All Blacks/AIG have re­leased the Di­ver­sity is Strength cam­paign.

Last week’s ar­ti­cle ex­plained my pas­sion for youth men­tor­ing. It fea­tured a photo of a teenager and my­self dur­ing a coach­ing ses­sion. The text ex­plained how young peo­ple need great role mod­els in or­der to help make big­ger life de­ci­sions. Un­for­tu­nately I have since found out that the teenager was chal­lenged at school by a group of kids, ask­ing if he was gay.

There­fore it’s only fit­ting to dis­cuss whether di­ver­sity at the ground level is re­ally be­ing prac­tised and whether rais­ing aware­ness re­ally changes any­thing.

The All Black cam­paign pro­motes that there is strength in hav­ing di­ver­sity and to unite as one to elim­i­nate dis­crim­i­na­tion (which is not just a LGBTQI+ is­sue). So does that have a flow-on ef­fect into our ev­ery­day life. The an­swer, one would only hope so. How­ever, the prac­tice of in­clu­sion and di­ver­sity has to be­gin at home.

The photo has since been re­moved be­cause it had the po­ten­tial to en­cour­age bul­ly­ing. But should it have to be re­moved? The ar­ti­cle in no way im­plies that the teenager is straight or gay. Yet he is now fac­ing the con­se­quences of vol­un­teer­ing to help his coach out.

The dis­ap­point­ing part of the above sit­u­a­tion is the jump to a con­clu­sion about sex­u­al­ity with­out con­sid­er­ing the con­se­quences. It high­lights that we need to ad­dress the ‘gay’ sub­ject at home with more cau­tion as LGBTQI+ quickly be­comes known as what was tra­di­tion­ally ‘nor­mal’. It is in­evitable that our kids will have LGBTQI+ friends.

We will only elim­i­nate dis­crim­i­na­tion if we not only start tak­ing a stand but con­tinue with cam­paigns like this.

I have re­cently teamed up with WORLD to help brighten up my Mr Gay World 2018 jour­ney. Last week­end I met with Francis Hooper (founder and de­signer) and Benny Cas­tles (de­signer and di­rec­tor). The team at WORLD have re­ally in­spired me to have more fun with what I wear, en­joy each day and to go forth in se­quins.

With the Mr Gay World com­pe­ti­tion fast ap­proach­ing I’m col­lat­ing a range of cloth­ing, suits, swimwear and feath­ers to help things feel more fab­u­lous (small hint for my na­tional cos­tume).

This week­end will see the first since be­ing an­nounced as Mr Gay NZ at home in Blen­heim, just in time to cel­e­brate In­ter­na­tional Sau­vi­gnon Blanc Day.


Benny Cas­tles, Ricky Devine White and Francis Hooper.

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