NZ queer ethnic youth face harassment and rejection from community

Queer ethnic young people are experiencing harassment and rejection from their communities for coming out, research shows.

Letting In – Closing Out, published by academics at the University of Auckland, found cultural expectations of marriage and children are pushing ethnic youth in New Zealand to remain silent about their sexual orientation.

Parents struggle with understanding their children’s queerness, with many choosing to ignore or deny it, some because of their religious belief or reputation, the report found.

Pooja Subrananian, 28, moved to New Zealand from India with her family in 2004. She is bisexual, and opened up about her sexuality to her parents six years ago.

“My own sexuality acceptance journey has been very recent, and up until that point it has been really emotionally difficult,” the Howick, Auckland resident said.

“You feel a sense of isolation, like you don’t belong in either world, and you’ve got to choose which world you’re going to perform for that day.”

Subrananian said there are a number of factors that make it difficult for ethnic queer youth to open up to their families.

“In a lot of our communities we’re told that’s not our culture. There’s also a sense of obligation or respect for our family, we want them to feel supported by us,” she said.

“So we remain silent out of that sense of respect.”

North Shore resident Eugene Velasco, 27, is non-binary and came out to their family in 2017.

“They weren’t happy, they were disgruntled and weren’t really welcoming about the idea of me not being straight,” they said.

Velasco is yet to see their family, who live in the Philippines, since sharing the news with them.

They said they didn’t come out until they moved to New Zealand because of their family dynamics. Continue reading

Where to get help for the LGBTQI+ community

  • OUTline NZ 0800 688 5463 (0800 OUTLINE)
  • RainbowYOUTH 09 376 4155
  • 1737, Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor
  • 0800 111 757 or text 4202
  • Lifeline 0800 543 354
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
  • Kidsline 0800 54 37 54 for people up to 18 years old. Open 24/7.
  • Youthline 0800 376 633, free text 234, email, or find online chat and other support options here.
Additional reading

News category: Analysis and Comment.

Tags: , ,