Supporting Rainbow Youth

Supporting Rainbow Youth

We don’t actually know how many young Rainbow people there are in Aotearoa New Zealand.

As practitioners, it’s our responsibility to understand rainbow culture and norms and to provide care that is identity-affirming and safe. To do this, we went looking for resources we thought practitioners would find most useful, either to use themselves or to share with rangatahi and whānau.   

The key (right) will help you identify the resources that will work best for you:

On this page, we’ll be using rainbow as an umbrella term to describe all people whose sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual characteristics are diverse, or differ from binary norms1 . That description may be a little daunting, and might have raised a few terms you’re unfamiliar with. That’s okay, because we’ve got sections to help everyone, for people starting from scratch to those that already have a pretty good understanding and just want guidelines for their practice. To cover the range of resources available, we group them into four sections:

  1. Rainbow 101. Our community
    The first section aims to introduce you to the Rainbow community. This is where you’ll find definitions, and get to hear from Rainbow young people about what being part of the Rainbow community means to them. It’s also a good place to find resources on how we, and the people that use our services, can be good allies to Rainbow friends and family. 
  2. Mental Health from a Rainbow Perspective
    This section looks at mental health and how being part of the Rainbow community may influence it. This is where you’ll get to hear the experiences and perspectives of Rainbow rangatahi who’ve struggled with their mental health. It’s also where you’ll find stats and get to learn why Rainbow young people might be more likely to need support with their mental health.
  3. Changing my Practice
    This section is all about the practical things we can do in our day-to-day practice, and in broader service design to provide mental healthcare that’s safe for Rainbow rangatahi. 
  4. Getting Connected
    The tools in this section will help you find youth Rainbow organisations near you.  

Click on the manu (birds), headings, or titles above to take you to the Supporting Rainbow Youth pages.


1 Much like in mental health, Rainbow culture is filled with acronyms. You might know us as LGBT+, LGBTQIA+ or even SOGIE (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression). For the purposes of this resource, we’ll be using the term Rainbow. We’ve chosen to do this due to its inclusive nature and because it aligns with the precedent set by Youth Organisations from this community, e.g. Rainbow Youth.