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Call for honours for gay rights activists

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 28/07/2016

It's time to honour those who stood up for the rights of gay New Zealanders, the Human Rights Commissioner says.

Richard Tankersley said the government regularly honours Kiwis who do extraordinary things, and should honour those who supported gay rights in dangerous periods, particularly in the mid-1980s.

"I was a young guy and involved in gay rights activism and the hatred we encountered from fellow Kiwis was vicious, brutal and palpable," he said.

"The people who led were very brave people indeed."

He said some risked basic human rights, faced personal attacks and risked exposure to public condemnation.

"We owe them a huge debt of gratitude."

The gay community in Christchurch will hold an event on Friday to publicly acknowledge their gratitude.

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