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Thursday 29 June 2017

Reflecting on SHIFT

Posted in: Our Communities
By Daily News staff - 6th May 2016

Over one hundred young people gathered from all over the country last weekend for a national LGBTI youth hui. We hear how the LGBTI youth Hui SHIFT was a life changing experience for three young people from across the country.


Noah Earnshaw, 14, Kapiti

This was my first time going to a hui - yet alone going to a marae and honestly it was the best decision of my life. I made so many friends and I learnt so much more and I even got the chance to up my transition (ftm) by getting my first binder (in which I sobbed for an hour after trying it on).

The hui is a great safe space filled with so many lovely caring people, never before had I felt so safe and respected. It made bathrooms easier with them being gender neutral, it made friendships easier knowing no one would judge me for my gender or sexuality and it made my life easier. The workshops I went to were amazing and I learnt a lot!

To summarise, the hui was one of the best things that had ever happened to me and I am eagerly awaiting next year.

Caitlin Briggs, 19, Christchurch

It's been two weeks now, but I'm still so blown away by everything that happened at Shift Hui 2016. I changed as a person that weekend, and I watched those around me change too. We became more confident, better versions of ourselves. We became a family, a support network. Shift Hui was the first place that I felt truly safe. I'd been questioning my gender for over a year, but it was at Hui that I finally accepted myself for who I am, and began to start coming out to people as gender non-binary. The first time I came out to someone was liberating, I felt so free within that moment.

By the end of the weekend I'd met so many people who identified in the same way, and I had established a support network for when I returned to 'the real world'. Shift Hui was truly life changing for me, and I am a better person for having attended. I am immensely grateful to have had the opportunity to attend, and so thankful to everyone who helped organize the weekend and ensure it ran smoothly.

Jessie Hopkins, 16, Auckland

Shift Hui 2016 was my first ever hui, I was super nervous because I knew like two people there. But that didn't last long with the great and amazing atmosphere. Everyone was so friendly and excited. I finally got to be myself and not hide who I am because everyone understood how I was feeling.

Everyone also understood boundaries and that's why I think the cold toast or warm toast thing was a super great idea to stop people from being uncomfortable. I learnt a lot about minorities in the rainbow community, sex ed that isn't heteronormative and a lot of things about being LGBT in faith from my other panelist’s experiences. I think that the workshops were really informative and helpful. Overall the hui has taught me more about acceptance and pronouns and I will for sure be coming back next year and I can't wait. Daily News staff - 6th May 2016

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