Across the Auckland Region, the two main service providers are Centre for Youth Health for young people and adolescents, and Auckland Regional Sexual Health Service for adults. These two services have multiple clinics across Auckland. They provide support around exploration of gender identity and social transition, family/whānau support, puberty blockers, hormone therapy and referral for other gender affirming health care. You can learn more here...
LGBTQ+ is often used to mean all of the terms included in the community; possibly because it is more user friendly!
You may also hear the terms “Queer Community” or “Rainbow Community” used to describe LGBTQ+ people. The terms are always evolving so don’t try to memorize the list. The most important thing is to be respectful and use the terms that people prefer.
Some of the terms are:
- Gender Queer
- Gender Fluid
- Gender nonconforming
- Non Binary
- Tangata ira tane
- Yan daudu
An “ally” is a term used to describe someone who is supportive of LGBTQ+ people. It encompasses non-LGBTQ+ allies as well as those within the LGBTQ+ community who support each other, e.g. a lesbian who is an ally to the bisexual community.
Here are five ways you can be an LGBTQ+ ally:
Be honest: It’s important to be honest with yourself — acknowledging your feelings and coming to terms with them. And it means being honest with the person who came out in your life — acknowledging you aren't an expert, asking them what's important to them, seeking resources to better understand the realities of being an LGBTQ+ individual so that you can be truly informed and supportive.
Send gentle signals: Showing and sharing your acceptance and support can be very easy. Many people often don’t realize that LGBTQ+ people keep watch for signs from their friends, family and acquaintances about whether it is safe to be open with them. It can be as subtle as having an LGBTQ-themed book on your coffee table.
Have courage: Just as it takes courage for LGBT people to be open and honest about who they are, it also takes courage to support your LGBTQ+ friends or loved ones. We live in a society where prejudice still exists and where discrimination is still far too common. Recognizing these facts and giving your support to that person will take your relationship to a higher level and is a small step toward a better and more accepting world.
Be reassuring: Explain to a someone who came out to you that their sexual orientation or gender identity has not changed how you feel about them, but it might take a little while for you to digest what they have told you. You still care for and respect them as much as you ever have or more. And that you want to do right by them and that you welcome them telling you if anything you say or do is upsetting.
Let your support inform your decisions: It’s about working to develop a true understanding of what it means to be LGBTQ+ and trying to do your part to help break down the walls of prejudice and discrimination that still exist — for example, by supporting businesses with appropriate anti-discrimination policies, saying you don’t appreciate “humor” that demeans LGBTQ+ people when it happens or learning about where political candidates stand on issues that have an impact on the LGBTQ+ community.
Sexual orientation refers to a person’s physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction towards other people.
Everyone has a sexual orientation, which is integral to a person’s identity. Gay men and lesbian women are attracted to individuals of the same sex as themselves. Heterosexual people (sometimes known as “straight”) are attracted to individuals of a different sex from themselves. Bisexual people may be attracted to individuals of the same or different sex. Sexual orientation is not related to gender identity
Gender identity reflects a deeply felt and experienced sense of one’s own gender.
A person’s gender identity is typically consistent with the sex assigned to them at birth (Cisgender). For transgender people, there is an difference between their sense of their own gender and the sex they were assigned at birth. In some cases, their appearance and mannerisms and other outwards characteristics may conflict with society’s expectations of gender-normative behaviour
Cisgender is a gender identity that society deems to match the person’s assigned sex at birth.
Intersex is an umbrella term and includes over 30 conditions where the sexual anatomy or the chromosomes are not the standard male or female.
Previously the term hermaphrodite was in common use and there is still a lot of controversy about the preferred terminology. Some professionals prefer the term Disorders of Sex Development (DSD).
An intersex person is born with sexual anatomy, reproductive organs, and/or chromosome patterns that do not fit the typical definition of male or female. This may be apparent at birth or become so later in life. An intersex person may identify as male or female or as neither. Intersex status is not about sexual orientation or gender identity: intersex people experience the same range of sexual orientations and gender identities as non-intersex people.
Transgender is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. It is sometimes abbreviated to trans*. This includes transsexual people, cross-dressers (sometimes referred to as “transvestites”), people who identify as third genders, and others whose appearance and characteristics are perceived as gender atypical.
Transwomen identify as women but were classified as males when they were born. Transmen identify as men but were classified female when they were born.
Some transgender people seek surgery or take hormones to bring their body into alignment with their gender identity; others do not.
A person whose gender identification and presentation shifts, whether within or outside of societal, gender-based expectations. Being fluid in motion between two or more genders.
Homophobia is an irrational fear of, hatred or aversion towards lesbian, gay or bisexual people; Transphobia denotes an irrational fear, hatred or aversion towards transgender people. Because the term homophobia is widely understood, it is often used in an all-encompassing way to refer to fear, hatred and aversion towards LGBT people in general.
LGBT people of all ages and in all regions of the world suffer from violations of their human rights.
They are physically attacked, kidnapped, raped and murdered. In more than a third of the world’s countries, people may be arrested and jailed (and in at least five countries executed) for engaging in private, consensual, same-sex relationships.
States often fail to adequately protect LGBT people from discriminatory treatment in the private sphere, including in the workplace, housing and healthcare.
LGBT children and adolescents face bullying in school and may be thrown out of their homes by their parents, forced into psychiatric institutions or forced to marry.
Transgender people are often denied identity papers that reflect their preferred gender, without which they cannot work, travel, open a bank account or access services.
Intersex children may be subjected to surgical and other interventions without their or often their parents’ informed consent, and as adults are also vulnerable to violence and discrimination.
Yes. LGBTQ+ people have always been a part of our communities. There are examples from every locality and time-period, from prehistoric rock paintings in South Africa and Egypt to ancient Indian medical texts and early Ottoman literature. Many societies have traditionally been open towards LGBTQ+ people, including several Asian societies that have traditionally recognized a third gender.
Transgender, Third Genders and Variance is Sexual Orientation have been around in most cultures since between 100 and 600 BC.
In South Asia (where a third gender is called hijra), Nigeria (yan daudu), Mexico (muxe), Samoa (fa‘afafine), Thailand (kathoey), Tonga (fakaleiti), and even the U.S., where third genders are found in Hawaii (mahu) and in some Native American peoples (two-spirit), the burrnesha of Albania or the fa‘afatama of Samoa -- just to name a few.
It's really only Western culture that seems to think that gender identity outside of the binary (Male / Female) is something new.
No. A person’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity cannot be changed.
What must change are the negative social attitudes that stigmatize LGBTQ+ people and contribute to violence and discrimination against them. Attempts to change someone’s sexual orientation often involve human rights violations and can cause severe trauma. Examples include forced psychiatric therapies intended to “cure” individuals of their same-sex attraction, as well as the so-called “corrective” violations of lesbians perpetrated with the declared aim of “turning them straight.”
No. Human rights are universal: every human being is entitled to the same rights, no matter who they are or where they live. While history, culture and religion are contextually important, all places, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, have a legal duty to promote and protect the human rights of all.
Transitioning with a partner can be a difficult road with a lot of ups and downs. The best thing is to be open and honest with them and give them time to process this information, even if it means you have to slow down the pace of your transition.
You can also read our article Transitioning with a partner.