Wed 6 Mar 2019

A rainbow warrior

Asher Truman is “unapologetically me”.

Asher is neither he nor she and celebrates the fact that a passport application provides for a Gender X.

The 19-year-old WITT nursing student has been awarded an ASB-Rainbow Youth scholarship worth $2500 through the bank’s support of Rainbow Youth.

The money, donated by the ASB Unity Network, will fund Asher’s studies.

Rainbow Youth, in its own words, provides support for queer and gender diverse youth in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Asher was part of the group which established Rainbow Youth’s first Peer Support Group, Taranaki Rural Rainbow, in March last year after members were given training.

The group meets at the New Plymouth YMCA where young people aged 13 to 27 can ask questions, feel in a safe place and know they are not alone, Asher says.

These are enlightened times compared to a generation or three ago – but Asher says Rainbow Youth still comprises members who feel suppressed.

“I am unapologetic, I don’t hide, but there are others who can’t even bring themselves to tell their parents – they are scared.”

Asher believes a lack of “fear” in being who Asher is helps.

At school, Asher set up Sacred Heart QSA – Queer Straight Alliance – after talking to a school counsellor, then approaching and being fully supported by headmaster Paula Wells.

Asher also applauds WITT’s positive approach to Rainbow Youth. Asher’s mum Nikki is a careers advisor at WITT.

To receive the ASB scholarship applicants must be an active part of Rainbow Youth as a volunteer and be in tertiary studies. The application also involves extensive questioning on the applicant's plans.


Pictured: Asher is studying Nursing at WITT.