Article: Star Observer
A Mr Gay New Zealand finalist is hoping to use his platform to raise awareness around homelessness within the country’s sexual and gender diverse community.
Twenty-five-year-old Rotorua-based Cody Jarvie, who was selected as one of the ten finalists in this year’s competition, said he entered to help create a positive change as a role model within the LGBTI community.
“I want to get Rotorua to back me as much as I can. I hope that it gives others the confidence to enter.”
Each finalist in the Mr Gay New Zealand competition was asked to write an article on a topic of their choice and Jarvie chose queer homelessness.
“It’s something I feel strongly about and it’s a growing epidemic,” he said.
In Australia, 42 per cent of LGBT+ youth have thought about self-harm and/or suicide and 16 per cent have attempted suicide.
They often face bullying and for those rejected by their families, can be at risk of becoming homeless.
As a result of the stigma, discrimination, and violence faced by many members of the community, 40 per cent of young homeless people identify as LGBT+.
Producer of the Mr Gay New Zealand competition Matt Fistonich said the event was about reaching out to more vulnerable members of the LGBT+ community, such as youth.
“This isn’t a beauty contest, it’s about community outreach,” he said.