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Parenting, sexual orientation and gender identity

Supporting and accepting your young person’s sexual orientation and gender identity is important to their wellbeing. There are a number of practical things that you can do to support your young person.

  • Listen to what your young person tell you, affirm their feelings. 
  • Respect your young person's privacy - don't disclose their identity to anyone without asking their permission first. 
  • Learn about what it means to have a diverse sexual orientation or gender identity. There are plenty of helpful resources at the bottom of this page to help you. 
  • Give yourself time away from your young person to process any emotions or feelings this might bring up for you. 
  • Reminder your young person that you love them, and that you are there to support them. This seems simple but can go a long way. 

my teenager has told me they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, gender diverse or transgender (LGBTIQ+). How do i respond?

Your young person may have known for some time that they are not straight or cisgender and may have struggled to “come out” to you. They have been brave and honest telling you about their sexuality or gender identity, even though they may have been afraid of your reaction.

The first thing to remember is their coming out isn't about your or anything you may or may not have done. Parenting your child in a certain way does not cause them to be LGBTIQ+. This is a myth. 

Whatever your personal feelings about the situation, it is very important that you listen to what they are saying and thank them for trusting you with the information. Reaffirm your love for them has not changed. 

If you are feeling unprepared, upset or worried about your young person being LGBTIQ+, you can ask them for some time to process what they have told you. You can then take that time to seek advice or support. 

What can I do to support my LGBTIq+ young person?

Apart from affirming their identity, there are other ways you can help your LGBTIQ+ young person navigate their journey. 

  • support their identity and any experimentation around this. Remember that sexuality and gender identity are fluie and can sometimes change during a person's lifetime. 
  • believe and encourage them to believe they can have a happy future as an LGBTIQ+ person. 
  • support or go with your young person to visit local LGBTIQ+ organisations or events to connect them with community support. 
  • welcome their LGBTIQ+ friends and partners to your home and to family events and activities
  • when and if they are ready, help your young person navigate coming out to the wider whānau. 
  • if you and your whānau are religious, work to make your faith community supportive of LGBTIQ+ members or find a supportive faith community that welcomes your young person and your family.

Are there any support groups available?

The websites below have information and contact details you might find useful.

Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.

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