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Welcome to Rainbow Youth. Skip directly to: main content or navigation.

Gender Identity

What is gender identity? How does it apply to me?

"I'm a female but I just don't feel like one?". "I'm just confused". "I feel like I should be a boy!"

In addition to sexual identity, gender identity is an important aspect of who we are - but not one that not everyone even thinks about. However, for some people, it raises a lot of questions.

Gender identity is a person's own sense of identification as male or female. Now not everyone may feel the need to question this, and that's okay. But some people feel they're not quite 100% with who they are, there may still be something missing.

You might be thinking things like: just because I was born a male, do I feel that I am a male? Or: everyone assumes I'm a "tomboy" because I like to play with trucks and play sports with the boys, but I like girls the same way the boys do. Does that mean I'm a lesbian? But I feel more like a boy anyway ...  I don't feel like a girl.

You might feel like you weren't born with the right body, or even feel somewhere in between. Or even be "gender queer", this is where you're one gender or the other and don't feel like you completely identify with that gender or the other.

Want to find out more?

If these are things you're thinking about, Rainbow Youth can help. You can get in touch with Cam, who runs our Gender Quest group, specifically for youth who are questioning their gender identity.

You can also contact Rainbow Youth with your question, or try one of these phone lines or online chats:


Phone counselling for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, curious or questioning individuals
10am – 10pm
Phone (09) 303 3584 or Freephone 0800 OUTLINE (0800 688 5463)
Online Chat


Crisis/counselling Line
11am – 11pm daily
Phone (09) 376-6633 or Freephone 0800 37 66 33
Community face-to-face counselling is also available. Contact the Youthline office on (09) 376-6645 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday to make an appointment.

What’s Up

Free telephone counselling service for New Zealanders aged 5 to 18 years
12pm-12am (noon to midnight) 7 days week
Phone 00800 WhatsUp (0800 942 8787)


24-hour phone counselling
Phone (09) 522 2999

What we mean when we say queer

A reclaimed word that represents sexuality and gender diversity. We use it to encompass lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, fa'afafine, and takataapui identities, as well as everyone in between and not sure. This word is used by many people, but it is also appreciated that it is not the preferred term for everybody.

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