June is Pride Month

June is known internationally as Pride Month. Chosen to commemorate the Stonewall riots which occurred in New York in June 1969, these events mark the start of the LGBTIQ+ rights movement.

Dr Leeanne Fisher, a child psychiatrist and chair of the Mental Health Rainbow Working Group shares what Pride Month means to her.

"It was the mid-80s, I was living in Dunedin and was in my first year of studying medicine when my best friend came out to me."

At this time homosexuality was a crime in New Zealand and Australia.

"He could've been prosecuted and jailed. It was just wrong.

"So we marched the streets to decriminalise homosexuality. I've always felt strongly about speaking up for what I believe in,"says Leeanne.

Homosexuality was decriminalised in New Zealand in 1986. In 1994 the Keating government passed the Human Rights (Sexual Conduct) Act decriminalising homosexuality throughout Australia.

Leeanne is incredibly proud of the positive impact the LGBTIQ+ community and allies have had on society.

"We're creating a safe, welcoming and inclusive society.

"I see it when staff ask patients what their preferred pronouns are. We're making a difference in someone's life when we do this.

"We're also challenging our heteronormative picture of the world. An example would be when people enquire if a young woman has a boyfriend. It's important to not assume that every couple is heterosexual,"says Leeanne.  

Austin Health will be celebrating Wear It Purple day on 29 August 2019. A day which aims to create supportive, safe and inclusive environments for young rainbow people. Closer to the day, more details on how we'll be celebrating will be shared on the Hub.