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Talking to friends and whānau about your identity

It can be hard to kōrero (talk) about our identity with people we care about because we don’t always know how they are going to react. You deserve to be heard and respected for who you are, but it’s important to remember that nobody's perfect, and other people may find it difficult to hear what you have to say.

Here are some things to keep in mind when you talk to friends and whānau:

  • Try to approach initial conversations with patience and compassion, rather than being confrontational or defensive. The people you’re talking with may be surprised or upset by what you’re telling them and it can be hard for whānau and friends to accept if your identity is different to their expectations and whakaaro (thoughts).
  • Have information to answer possible patai (questions) they may have so that you can feel māia (confident) in what you’re discussing with them. You know your whānau and friends better than almost anyone else, and if you can anticipate their concerns, you can be ready with some answers that will help them understand.
  • Remember that it can take a long time for people to change their minds on things. It’s taken them a lifetime to believe what they believe, and opinions and beliefs are not going to change in one conversation. It may help to remind them that you’re still you and you haven’t changed, it’s just that you’ve got a better way of explaining or defining who you are.

There's lots of support in Aotearoa for you.

Inside Out, Rainbow Youth anfd Be There can offer more support around talking to whānau and friends.