- Publish Date
- Thursday, 19 April 2018, 10:22AM
All Blacks and Hurricanes star TJ Perenara is the latest high profile rugby player to speak out against Israel Folau's comments on homosexuality.
The Wallabies star has caused an uproar over his comment on Instagram last month that God's plan for gay people was "Hell, unless they repent of their sins and turn to God".
Perenara took to social media to join the debate, saying he is "100% against the comments" made by Folau.
"I'd like to add my voice to the conversation currently taking place," Perenara wrote on Twitter.
"As professional rugby players, whether we like it or not, we are role models for a lot of young people. Notably, young Māori and Pasifika people.
"You don't need to look far to know that young Māori/PI are overrepresented in youth suicide statistics and, as I understand it, even more so when you look to those who are part of the Rainbow community. Comments that cause further harm cannot be tolerated."
Perenara said Folau's "harmful" comments were not something he wants to see in rugby.
"Let it go on record that I am 100% against the comments that were made by Israel. It was not ok to say that. It's not an attitude I want to see in the game I love. There is no justification for such harmful comments.
"To anyone, young Māori/Pasifika people especially, who may be struggling with their identity - please know that it is ok to be you. You are perfect as you are. Do not let these comments keep you from being yourself. Polynesia has been sexually diverse since forever."
Meanwhile, it was announced that Folau will not be sanctioned by Rugby Australia (RA) for his controversial stance on homosexuality.
RA boss Raelene Castle has been satisfied by a column in which the Wallabies star reiterated his religious convictions after claiming gay people were destined for hell unless they repent their "sins".
Where to get help:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youth services: (06) 3555 906
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• The Word
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
• CASPER Suicide Prevention
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here wit permission.