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Queer+Trans* Youth in Schools

School can be a rough time for young people, especially queer and trans* youth.

Here in New Zealand, many statistics aren’t particularly in our favor – with the Youth 07 Report finding queer and trans* kids five times more likely to experience bullying or mental illness at some point during their schooling.

But it can also be a really empowering time as young people grow, learn, form ideas about their place in the world and begin to know who they are, and be who they are.

Rainbow Youth has been delivering education workshops for schools, community organisations and tertiary institutions for the last 10 years, looking at sexual orientation and gender identity issues, the impact of homophobia and how to create a safer school environment for all students.

Recently we launched our Educating for Diversity Report conducted in association with the Ministry of Education.

Over 200 students from two secondary schools in Auckland participated in this study. The findings of this study suggest that Rainbow Youth’s workshops were of a high quality, and resulted in significant post-workshop improvements in attitudes for participating students. The authors call for further research and development in order to expand the delivery of the workshops, and add further components.

Here’s a video of the launch of the report, where some key members of the Rainbow Youth staff & board, along with a co-author of the report give a quick rundown of what the report means for us:

If you’re after resources for your classroom, or awesome hints for supporting queer and trans* youth in your schools, then check out our ‘for teachers’ section.

If you’re a student and are keen to set up a Queer-Straight Alliance (QSA) in your school, check out our QSA section.

What we mean when we say queer

A reclaimed word that represents sexuality and gender diversity. We use it to encompass lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, fa'afafine, and takataapui identities, as well as everyone in between and not sure. This word is used by many people, but it is also appreciated that it is not the preferred term for everybody.

What we mean when we say trans*

Rainbow Youth uses the word 'trans*' as an umbrella term for gender-diverse people, including for example; whakawahine, tangata ira tane, FtM, MtF, transsexual, fa'afafine, transgender, whakawahine, transmen, transwomen, akava'ine, leiti, genderqueer and gender-neutral people.