A sense of community can help empower behaviour change. This is also essential for helping our rainbow rangatahi feel safe and good about themselves. This message applies both to people who are supporting rangatahi, as well as the rainbow rangatahi themselves. Positive role models and shared experiences help to fight isolation and give people a sense of belonging.
For rainbow rangatahi, existing in a world where they feel alone or different can be overwhelmingly isolating and cause negative mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health impacts, and increase the chances of risk taking behaviors. By supporting them to connect with community, we help to develop positive behaviours, lower the risk of harm and encourage them to thrive in a supportive environment.
Some things to consider:
- Connect with caregivers who are in similar situations when raising or caring for rainbow youth.
- Be open minded in your experience - there are many different ways to raise/influence/care for a rainbow young person.
- Be willing to learn how best to care for the rainbow youth in your life.
- Watch videos and research the experiences of others who care for and raise rainbow youth
- Be open and willing to be informed and affected.
- Reach out if you need help - there are no wrong questions and our organisations are here to support you.
- Buy and read books with rainbow themes for your children
For young folk:
- Stay true to yourself.
- Ask for help.
- Look for like-minded friends.
- Surround yourself with supportive people.
- Check out rainbow-themed shows, podcasts, YouTube channels, and books - there are bunch of great authors and creators out there that write and talk a lot about what you are going through.
Some questions to ask yourself:
- Am I shutting off and not allowing my experience to be informed by helpful knowledge?
- Where can I find good information that is relevant for us?
- Where can I go to connect my child? (see ‘help your child access community’)
- What groups are there for me to join as a parent?
- How can I support and work with my child to connect us to rainbow communities?
- Who do I know who has shared experiences?