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

Supporting queer youth

Showing that you still love or care about someone you know who may feel same-sex attraction or gender difference can sometimes be tricky, but is vitally important. Here's some advice:

Don't be offended if they don’t tell you right away. Sometimes people need time to work it through themselves.

Reassure them that it's normal to question things about themselves. Tell them they are not alone. Don't tell them it's a phase. It may or not be true for them.

Don't spread gossip about your friends/family members - treasure the fact they have shared this with you.

Don't use labels or define the person as gay. Make sure they’re feeling good about themselves and remind them that being attracted to another person is a very cool thing, regardless of that person's gender.

Let them explore their feelings and personal beliefs.

Take an interest in queer culture and identity so that they can talk to you about their new experiences. Check out our events section for events in your area.

Support their desire to explore developing identity within the queer community, and among friends and family/whanau networks.

Help identify key people who will react positively, such as a teacher, parent or guidance counselor. Support them to tell these people first.

Be aware of other support that's available - check out our groups section. There are also many services providing free and confidential phone and online counseling.

Provide support for and acceptance of their new friends/partners in the same ways as you would for heterosexual people.

Be aware your friend/family member may feel resentful of the loneliness and pain they felt when they were younger and questioning their sexual or gender identity.

Remember that your friend/family member won't just 'come out' once. As they move through life they'll constantly be meeting new people and sharing their identity, and they may still experience negative responses. Acknowledge their courage, and keep giving them support.

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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