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Saturday 08 April 2017

Help a songbird soar: Luana Howard

Posted in: True Stories
By staff - 18th September 2015

Luana Howard thought she may never make it as a young mezzo-soprano, but she has made it to the end of her third year of a double degree in Music and Italian at the NZSM and Victoria University. Now she needs your help in her bid to pursue her Italian language scholarship to study at one of the most prestigious language universities in Italy.

As a teenager, Howard only dreamt of becoming an opera singer, and now in her third year at the New Zealand School of Music she feels like it could become a reality. During her final years of high school she decided that the bullying and judgement from her peers was enough and that she would take a stand and prove to society that regardless of sexual orientation, anyone who works hard enough can achieve their dreams.

“Coming from a small country town it was incredibly difficult coming out, and I always felt really uncomfortable in my own skin. I knew I was the talk of the town and the way people looked at me made me feel small and like I didn’t deserve to succeed.”

However, since having left her hometown she has become much more comfortable in her sexuality and loves getting involved with the LGBT community. In 2013 she competed in the Sydney Same Sex dance competition and last year she travelled to Darwin, Australia, to compete in the 3rd Asia Pacific Outgames Same Sex DanceSport Competition, where she did incredibly well and came home a few medals heavier.

“The Outgames was an experience I will never forget. The atmosphere was absolutely buzzing! The opportunity to meet fellow LGBT members proudly representing New Zealand in their chosen fields will remain an unforgettable moment in my life.”

Now Howard has the opportunity to study Italian, one of her greatest passions, at the ‘Università per Stranieri’ in Perugia, Italy, but needs to raise $4,000 towards flights and expenses before November to get there. Languages are a crucial part of being a classical singer and being able to speak Italian will prove to be a great advantage in furthering her career. Howard is a busy student, and alongside part-time work she is looking for fundraising support through the crowdfunding website Pledgeme. Full details can be found in the link below.

Despite the prejudices against Howardas a young lesbian in a small town she says she was determined to make something of herself, not only to prove she had something to offer the world but to give hope to other young people who are having difficulties coming out and feeling like they don’t have the same right to follow their dreams.

“I really want to show the young LGBT community that you can achieve your dreams, regardless of sexual orientation. I haven’t yet fulfilled my dream but I am on the way and with hard work, passion, dedication, and support from your community, anything is possible."

Anyone who is willing to help support Luana can donate via Pledgeme or email her at

   Bookmark and Share staff - 18th September 2015