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25 years of RainbowYOUTH: Briana's story

Wed 19 Nov 2014 In: True Stories View at Wayback View at NDHA

Hi! My name is Briana. I'm 18-years-old and I'm one of the facilitators for GQ (Generation Queer). I first got involved with RainbowYOUTH about a year and a half ago by becoming a member of GQ. GQ is a social-support group for anyone under 17-years-old, or for anyone still attending high school. I found out about the group online while I had been searching for a youth group for the LGBTQ community. At that point I had been questioning my sexuality for a few years but had a lot of difficulty accepting it. I was also a very quiet and socially anxious person. I thought that going to a group like that would be a good stepping stone to building social confidence, discovering and accepting myself, as well as meeting other like-minded people. This turned out to be exactly what I achieved. After a few weeks of contemplating whether or not I should go I finally decided to make the leap and went to the group. The first time turning up was terrifying. I was facing all of those fears in one hit. I remember stepping through the door into a place much smaller than I had imagined, all the heads in the room facing me as I entered, but I had emailed the facilitator earlier and they easily welcomed me into the group. All of the members were lovely and by the end of the night I felt so happy and connected with everyone that I couldn't wait for the next session. After a couple of times going to GQ the smaller-than-I-had-expected room became cosy and the RainbowYOUTH centre felt like my second home. RainbowYOUTH opened up a new world for me. While growing up the idea of same sex attraction was always hidden under the covers and never discussed openly. It felt like something to be ashamed of. RainbowYOUTH helped me to love this part of myself and taught me that I can totally have a happy and successful life no matter what my sexuality or gender identity may be. Their support and resources are irreplaceable. Over time my involvement with RainbowYOUTH has changed. I'm now a facilitator for GQ and amloving the opportunity and involvement. I wanted to become a facilitator to further improve my confidence and leadership skills, and to be in a position where I could connect with and help people, like RainbowYOUTH helped me. I would definitely recommend and encourage checking out RainbowYOUTH and their groups if you're questioning, looking for support, or just want a fantastic LBGTQ friendly place to chill and socialise with others. I think that without the support from RainbowYOUTH I wouldn't feel as comfortable and confident about myself and my sexuality. The first step I took towards coming out was actually wearing a RainbowYOUTH ribbon on my bag at school (which seemed huge at the time). I'm so grateful for the organisation and all the wonderful people that run it! RainbowYOUTH marks 25 years with a reunion in Auckland tonight. It's asking supporters to ensure it runs for at least another 25 years, with a #25years25more message on social media and call for donations.     Briana Jade - 19th November 2014

Credit: Briana Jade

First published: Wednesday, 19th November 2014 - 10:35am

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