Hawke’s Bay gay youth group fails despite church support

Efforts to establish a support group for gay Hawke’s Bay youth have failed because of a lack of public support.

Despite help from Trinity Methodist Church in Napier for the GayOk group, backing from local schools, funding bodies and the wider community was not forthcoming.

“There is a real stigma around homosexuality in Hawke’s Bay and it truly does take a toll on gay youths,” GayOk co-founder Jason Gerbes said.

“We were trying to provide support for the gay community in Hawke’s Bay, which personally we found a lack of.”

Trinity Methodist’s Reverend Tony Franklin-Ross, 46, an “out-gay minister”, was keen to help GayOk.

“The parish has had a mission statement for a number of years to be inclusive across a range of aspects such as age, gender, culture and sexuality,” Mr Franklin-Ross said.

“The prominent discourse in the media is that the church has a negative attitude towards sexuality, but we were happy to say ‘we don’t affirm that’.”

If youth lacked a sense of belonging, they would go where there was a better sense of community and more support services, he said.

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News category: New Zealand, News Shorts.

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