Celebrating Rainbow Day on Tuesday at Richmond River were (l-r) Jasper Bardsley, Daisy Aczel-Morris, Ian MacDonald, Theotius Hall, Nathan Hancock, Aiden Zelandonii, Emerald Moon, Alice Fleetwood, Richard O’Neill and Evanna Kelly.
Celebrating Rainbow Day on Tuesday at Richmond River were (l-r) Jasper Bardsley, Daisy Aczel-Morris, Ian MacDonald, Theotius Hall, Nathan Hancock, Aiden Zelandonii, Emerald Moon, Alice Fleetwood, Richard O’Neill and Evanna Kelly.

Not all rainbows are the same

It’s not wrong to be different.

Students at Richmond River High School celebrated their inaugural Rainbow Day on Tuesday.

“Rainbow Day is about accepting everyone and celebrating diversity,” Student Equity Committee member Daisy Aczel-Morris said. “For a long time being gay has been a hushed thing and we don’t talk about it. People need to be free from discrimination and be able to come out in a safe environment.”

At a special school assembly for the day organised by the Student Equity Committee, a message of awareness about diversity and acceptance was given by Ian MacDonald, the community education and development officer at ACON.

“My message is part of an ACON program called Safe Place which enables people who may feel threatened by homophobic violence to find a place of safety,” Mr MacDonald said.

Committee member Emerald Moon said the Student Equity Committee was created a few years ago by students who wanted to make a difference. After Mr MacDonald gave a moving talk last year about what it used to be like for gay and lesbian kids at school, the committee asked him to come back and talk this year.

“I used to be a teacher and in the ‘old’ days, gay and lesbian people suffered miserably at school,” Mr MacDonald said. “They lived in fear of vilification and were frightened of looking sideways at people of the same sex they were attracted to.

“It’s good to see Richmond River High School picking up the idea of Safe Place and having a Rainbow Day.”

During the Rainbow Day assembly, student Nathan Hancock made a speech in which he ‘came out’ to the school about his sexuality.

“I told everyone how hard it is to tell people you love that you are bi-sexual, but it has to be done,” Nathan said. “It takes real guts to do that.”

Student Alice Fleetwood said that Mr MacDonald’s message during the assembly was about how to care for ourselves and others and embrace diversity.

According to Mr MacDonald, some of the ways people can care for themselves include adopting a common sense approach to living, thinking carefully before using drugs and alcohol and talking to a doctor if you need to.

“People also need to care for each other and look out for homophobia,” he said. “If someone’s in the process of coming out, you need to be aware of it and be there for them. If you are at a party, look out for them and stay in touch with each other.

“If someone’s different from you, it’s not right or wrong, just different. That’s what diversity is about – acceptance and awareness of an individual to celebrate their diversity,” Mr MacDonald said.

“Not all rainbows are the same. They are all different, just like people – and that’s okay.”


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