Former PM Helen Clark graces cover of LGBT+ magazine Express

The magazine issue marks the 125th anniversary of women's suffrage.
The magazine issue marks the 125th anniversary of women's suffrage. Photo credit: Express

A portrait of former Prime Minister Helen Clark has featured on the cover of a New Zealand publication that supports the LGBT+ community. 

Ms Clark appears on the cover of Express magazine to mark the 125th anniversary of women's suffrage. She was chosen for magazine cover because she's a "classic portrait of female strength," according to the publication. 

The August issue of Express celebrates a number of Kiwi women, and the editor, Oliver Hall, says it's an honour to have Ms Clark not only feature in the magazine but also grace the cover. 

But the publication wasn't able to feature a photograph of Ms Clark on the cover because she was overseas when they put it together. 

Auckland artist Shane Crook created a portrait for Express, after former Mr Gay New Zealand and RNZAF member Matt Fistonich suggested the artwork be based on the American World War II wartime "We Can Do It" poster. 

The final result was bright a pop-art style image that emphasises the magazine cover's headline: "Celebrating kick ass women". 

Ms Clark has been an outspoken supporter of the LGBT+ community. She is set to speak at a Rainbow Charitable Trust fundraising event on September 9 in Auckland. 

In the Express article, Ms Clark says she's "proud of the Civil Unions Act of 2004, which paved the way for full marriage equality in 2013".

"Not everyone in NZ has yet got the message that LGBTI rights are human rights which must be upheld," she says. "We must continue to work for universal support for that." 

In 2002, Ms Clark apologised on behalf of the Government for past transgressions against the gay and lesbian communities. She told Express at the time treatment against the LGBT+ community had been "disgraceful".