It is not okay to stigmatise people with leprosy. Say NO to the L word.

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Thank You - This is what New Zealand Herald replied

Hi I’m Gillian, Executive Director of the Leprosy Mission New Zealand. I wanted to personally thank you for your support and standing with people affected by leprosy and against stigma and discrimination.  

It was two weeks ago that the New Zealand Herald printed its front page headline with the L word. Since then over 2100 people from all over the world have signed the petition and are standing with you and people affected by leprosy and calling on the NZ Herald and all politicians, newspapers, and anyone else, to add the L word as a horrible term that stigmatises people affected by leprosy, to the collection of others that have become unprintable.

Last week I followed up my original letter to the Herald and mentioned that I have you and 2100 others around the world behind me that care about this issue. Later I received the New Zealand Herald’s response to my letter and it came with a full apology this is what the Editor said...

‘The Herald, in its story, was attempting to highlight the plight of New Zealanders recovering from Covid-19 and the difficulties they face being accepted into society. It sought to shine a light on a problem with the aim of alleviating it. In attempting to help one group of people, we have clearly done harm to another.’ Please accept my apologies for this. ‘The online version has been edited. Once again, please accept my sincere apologies’. ‘Although our mistake was unintentional, I recognise that does not mean it caused any less harm.'

Education is key to fighting stigma and discrimination. Through your direct action in joining with others, we have been able to educate the New Zealand Herald about the use of this term for people affected by leprosy, for this I thank you!

4 million people around the world are affected by leprosy including our Pacific neighbours. The Leprosy Mission has projects in the Pacific and around the world and through the support of New Zealanders like you, we will realise the goal of No Child with Leprosy by 2035.  I would love to keep you updated and involved.  Please click here to sign up to our further updates and journey with us as we see the lives of people affected by leprosy transformed and an end to discrimination and stigma.


Gillian Whitley
Executive Director
Leprosy Mission New Zealand

P.S Thank you so much for standing with people affected by leprosy. Let’s continue to educate ourselves about this ancient disease that still affects people today. Sign up to receive our further updates here.

Leprosy Mission New Zealand
1 year ago