Queer activist can't imagine an Aotearoa that's safe for rainbow community following spate of attacks

"New Zealand is actually dripping with homophobia and transphobia". That is how one LGBTQI+ activist has put it following a spate of attacks on Aotearoa's rainbow community. 

Thursday marks the last day of Pride Month in Aotearoa - but what was meant to be a month of celebration for the community, hateful attacks have instead seeped in. 

Drag queen Erika Flash is one part of the duo Coco and Erika who read books to children about inclusivity and acceptance. 

The pair travelled up and down the motu but were met with protestors along the way, some of whom accused them online of indoctrinating children.

When they arrived in Greymouth for a gig at the queer-friendly church Gloria, they found it had been vandalised and a pride flag burned on the lawn.

"We've been doing Rainbow Storytime for six years and this is the first time we've had any negativity happening at the Rainbow Storytime sessions, and that's something we do not stand for," Erika Flash said.

And unfortunately, that wasn't the only homophobic attack during a month of celebration for the rainbow community. In Tauranga, claims surfaced that Christian school Bethlehem College had discriminated against queer students.

The Ministry of Education is now investigating and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said every school in Aotearoa is "obliged to ensure that they have a safe and inclusive environment for all children".

Also in Tauranga, a suspicious fire destroyed the home of the Rainbow Youth community. 

"Extremist Christians spend so much time complaining about how the queer community is shoving their lifestyle down their throat but they quite literally burned down our safe space because they didn't like us," LGBTQI+ activist Shaneel Lal told The Project. 

Meanwhile further north, Nelson's Christian counsellor David Riddell said he'll continue to practise conversion therapy - even though it's banned.

Lal told The Project with several "hatred" attacks in one month it's hard to imagine an Aotearoa where queer people are safe.

"New Zealand is actually dripping with homophobia and transphobia."

A report out on Wednesday from the Ministry of Justice shows half of non-heterosexual adults were victims of crime last year, compared to 29 percent of the general population. 

"As queer people get closer to achieving their full humanity, the status quo gets more violent. But the more queer people there are and the more allies there are, the status quo becomes weaker," Lal said.

"That's why they hate us, because queer people are creating a world where everyone is free."