To get the best possible experience using our website we recommend that you upgrade to a newer version or other web browser. IE8 is no longer supported. A list of the most popular web browsers can be found below. Click on the links to get to the download page.
Sexual orientation can be complex for young people, no matter if they’re straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, takatāpui or otherwise.
Sexual orientation is about who you are romantically, sexually or emotionally attracted to. Some people are into boys, girls, both or neither, people of the same sex as them or the opposite. Sexual orientation is not a choice - it’s a part of who we are and figuring out what it means for us is a normal part of growing up.
For lesbian, gay, bisexual or takatāpui young people, sharing their identity with others can be difficult and scary. There is often an expectation that young people will be straight. It can feel a bit like everyone around them is getting together with someone of the opposite sex and books, movies, music videos, and their conversations with friends and family tell them that they should be too. That’s a lot of pressure and can feel isolating if they’re feeling something different.
If you are supporting a young person, make sure issues around sexuality and orientation are topics that you can talk about openly and without judgement. If young people feel like they have someone to turn to, who they can trust and who won't judge them, they are more likely to ask for help if times get tough.
Some lesbian, gay, bisexual or takatāpui young people may choose not to say anything about their sexual orientation. They might still be figuring things out for themselves, or be feeling worried about being bullied or scared about what their parents or whānau might say. They might know they won’t get a positive reaction at home.
A lack of support or acceptance from whānau and family, feeling afraid or being judged, bullied, or discriminated against can really hurt someone. When young people are excluded or rejected, they can experience much higher rates of depression, anxiety and distress than their peers.
Here are some general signs to look out for that could suggest that a young person is having a hard time dealing with things. They might:
It’s really important that young people feel they have at least one person in their lives who they can turn to and talk about anything, who will love and support them no matter who they are into. This person needs to be warm, trustworthy, and non-judgemental.
If a young person comes out to you as lesbian, gay, bisexual or takatāpui, know that telling you took a lot of courage. Sharing their identity is a sign that they trust you and need your support and understanding.
RainbowYOUTH is a charitable organisation providing support, information, advocacy, and education for queer and trans* young people (aged between 13 and 28), their friends and whānau, and those who work with queer and trans* youth.
The I'm Local project aims to help queer & gender diverse youth all over Aotearoa to feel valued, recognised and supported in their local communities. It includes a region-by-region map of all the queer and gender diverse support groups for young people across the country.
Confidential Helpline: 0800 688 5463
Outline provides confidential and gay-affirming GLBT telephone support and face to face counselling.
Supporting parents and whānau through the difficulties that often arise in the “coming out” process. Navigating these difficulties together by creating awareness, acceptance, validation, support, safe homes, and developing stronger family bonds resulting in better supported and better equipped parents.
The Village Collective aims to support Pasefika communities with sexual and reproductive health needs, and supports young Pasefika people to make great decisions for themselves through mentoring and education programmes.
A print and video resource for takatāpui (Māori who are whakawāhine, tangata ira tāne, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer), their whānau and communities, sharing stories and information about identity, wellbeing and suicide prevention.
Families like mine is a multimedia guide developed by Australian organisation Beyond Blue that offers practical advice to families of young gender-diverse people, same-sex attracted and bisexual people, and those who are questioning their sexuality or gender identity.