Posted By

Tags

Rainbow youth need support from community at large


Rainbow youth needs the community to support them and cheer them on (Photo Supplied)

Praneeta Mahajan
Hamilton, May 2, 2023

The term ‘Rainbow’ is a blanket term for persons who identify as LBGTQI+ and Takatāpui – meaning Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender, Intersex, Queer (or Questioning), and + (the plus indicates that the Rainbow community is diverse and goes well beyond LBGTQI). Takatāpui is a traditional Māori term meaning ‘intimate companion of the same sex.’ It has been reclaimed to embrace all Māori who identify with diverse genders, sexualities and sex characteristics.

What the numbers say

Perhaps unsurprisingly, New Zealand’s LGBT+ population makes up a larger proportion of younger cohorts, and skews considerably younger than the total population. In 2020, over 8% of New Zealanders aged 18-29 identified as LGBT+, around double the total ages average of 4.2% (see Chart 4). In the reverse, those aged above 35 are less likely to identify as LGBT+ relative to the national average.

More comprehensive information is expected to be collected in the 2023 Census, which will allow for an even more detailed insight in New Zealand’s LGBT+ community and more specifically, regarding rainbow youth.

Graph showing higher LGBTQI+ concentration in younger population (Photo Supplied)

Why it is important

The youth that identify as members of rainbow community need also known as LGBTQ+ youth, face a range of challenges in New Zealand that can impact their mental health and well-being. These challenges include discrimination, isolation, and lack of access to appropriate healthcare services. Understanding these challenges is crucial to developing effective interventions and support for this population.

Discrimination and Marginalization

Rainbow young people in New Zealand face discrimination and marginalization, which can lead to social isolation, low self-esteem, and other mental health issues. According to a 2019 report by the Human Rights Commission, 30% of LGBTQ+ youth experienced discrimination, harassment, or bullying in the past year. This discrimination can occur in a range of settings, including schools, workplaces, and healthcare settings.

According to Dr. Jaimie Veale, a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Waikato, discrimination and marginalization can have a significant impact on the mental health and well-being of Rainbow young people. She said, “This population is at higher risk of mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, and that addressing discrimination and promoting social inclusion is key to improving their mental health outcomes.”

Isolation and Support Networks

Rainbow young people may also experience social isolation, particularly if they live in rural or conservative areas where there are few visible LGBTQ+ communities or support networks. This isolation can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and anxiety, and can make it more difficult for Rainbow young people to access support services.

According to Dr. Elizabeth Kerekere, a researcher and advocate for Rainbow communities in New Zealand, creating supportive environments and networks is crucial to addressing isolation and promoting well-being among Rainbow young people. She emphasizes the importance of providing safe and inclusive spaces for Rainbow youth, such as youth groups and community centers, as well as promoting positive messaging around diversity and inclusion in schools and other settings.

Access to Healthcare Services

Rainbow young people may also face challenges in accessing appropriate healthcare services, including mental health services, that are culturally competent and responsive to their unique needs and experiences. This can lead to delayed or inadequate treatment, and can have a negative impact on their mental and physical health outcomes.

According to Dr. Terryann Clark, a Senior Lecturer in Nursing, addressing the healthcare needs of Rainbow young people requires a culturally competent and responsive approach that recognizes and respects their diverse experiences and identities. She notes the importance of healthcare providers receiving training in LGBTQ+ health issues, including mental health, and of creating supportive and non-judgmental healthcare environments for Rainbow young people.

In order to address the challenges facing Rainbow young people in New Zealand, it is important to take a holistic and culturally responsive approach that acknowledges and addresses the root causes of discrimination, isolation, and lack of access to appropriate healthcare services. This includes creating supportive and inclusive environments, promoting positive messaging around diversity and inclusion, and providing access to culturally competent and responsive healthcare services. By addressing these challenges and promoting well-being among Rainbow young people, we can work towards a more inclusive and equitable society for all.

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share this story

Related Stories

Indian Newslink

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement