If you make it clear you expect other people in your whānau to treat your child (or your niece or nephew or nibling or grandchild or cousin etc) with respect and love, this will help your child feel safer and help everyone understand that rainbow rangatahi deserve respect as part of the whānau. It’s important that rainbow rangatahi feel safe amongst their whānau. You can be a role model for other family members about how to be respectful and caring towards your child, for example, showing them how to use the young person’s correct name and pronouns. When a young person knows that they have people standing up for them, they are more likely to feel valued and supported. This includes not letting other people get away with discriminatory language or cruel jokes, and also showing appreciation when other people do or say things that support rainbow rangatahi.
Things to consider:
- Give yourself time to adjust to information
- Encourage other whānau to use pronouns and real names.
- Hold them to a standard you expect of yourself
- Provide support to your child when they are ready to tell/inform extended whānau
- Get support for yourself
- Respect privacy of your child/pace of coming out - (Don’t be the whānau kaingutungutu/ gossip)
- Don’t throw them a coming out party - be guided by your child
- Don’t question/invalidate their experience
- Create a safe space
- Don’t push for more information that your child is comfortable with. Don’t push questions around transitioning and don’t put words in their mouth
- Do your own research. Don’t use your child as a resource for the whole queer/trans experience (this applies to the whole whānau)
- Acknowledge that this may be a scary time for your child as they are learning how to be in the world too. You can be the one to counter any potential negative messages they may receive.
- Consider the best ways to bring whanaunga around to supportive and affirmative ways of interacting with your child. This means interacting in good faith, sharing resources with them and having conversations that don’t make that person defensive. However, if they refuse to reflect or change, assert that your child’s safety is the priority and that discrimination is not an option.
Some questions to ask yourself:
- How am I providing a safe space for my child?
- How am I pushing and challenging myself to respect my child’s wishes?
- Am I prepared to stand up for my child?
- What are the most effective ways to challenge discriminatory beliefs or behaviours?