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Wednesday 14 April 2010

How healthy is your relationship?

Posted in: Community
By Matt Akersten - 11th March 2010


In a healthy relationship, people feel loved, trusted, respected and safe.

A new booklet about Kiwi same-sex coupling gives tips for healthy relationships – and advice on what to do if things go wrong.

Produced by ex-Outline NZ manager Lesley Belcham working with a network of LGBT health professionals, the booklet - called You, Me, Us - acknowledges that every relationship is different, and gives general hints on resolving conflicts, what to do about communication breakdowns, identifying abuse, why people stay in abusive relationships, and practical advice on how to leave an abusive situation.

"A healthy loving relationship has a balance of passion, intimacy and commitment" - Dee & Becks
"We come from varied and diverse backgrounds and have a wealth of knowledge and experiences," realises Belcham. "Often we emulate relationships and behaviours that we experienced when we were growing up. Role models can be useful, but as a community we have some distinct factors that create different dynamics.

"In our community there are many different types of barriers to discussing relationship difficulties, i.e. we may have issues around positive disclosure, or our sexual orientation, we may be gender questioning, or may not be out," Belcham adds.

"Know who you are and be who you are because at the end of the day we are all individuals and deserve to be in healthy and happy relationships."

The booklet has the backing of the Campaign for Action on Family Violence. "The team has done a fantastic job producing resources to talk about relationships within the LGBT community," says campaign advisor Cristy Trewartha. "It's important that we talk about violence in relationships and also what we can expect in equitable, respectful relationships."

You, Me, Us is now available to pick up from the Rainbow Youth drop-in centre on K' Road and the Outline office on Anzac Ave – but it's also available as a PDF to download online.

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Matt Akersten - 11th March 2010