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Zach(March 2012)

In this podcast Zach talks about being young and gay in 2012.

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In this podcast episode titled "Zach - Q12," recorded on 15th March 2012, the conversation delves into the experiences of an 18-year-old from North Shore, Auckland, and their life as a gay young adult in the 2010s. Despite a modest 15-minute length, the recording touches on numerous topics, from family life to personal identity, providing insights into the intersection of youth, sexuality, and societal perceptions.

The individual, engaged in education and training (ET), shares a range of personal interests, including music, cooking, clothes-making, and performing arts such as singing and dancing. Additionally, they discuss their family composition, being raised by a single parent who later entered a same-sex relationship, thus presenting the unique perspective of someone brought up in a lesbian-led household.

One poignant revelation is their discovery of their parent's sexual orientation at a young age. The individual never met their father and was raised by their mother until about the age of six, when their mother's girlfriend became part of their family life. Even with a supportive domestic environment, societal norms and the parent's religious beliefs complicated their journey, with the parent initially trying to steer their child towards heteronormativity.

This young person recognized their own gay identity around the age of 16 after a period of exploration. They also engage in drag performance, adopting a feminine persona. This dual expression raised concerns for their mother, who struggled to distinguish between the individual's gender identity and sexual orientation.

When unraveling acceptance and the act of coming out, the individual describes a journey marked by secrecy initially due to the religious nature of their community, but eventually becoming more public. Their parent guessed their sexuality before any formal acknowledgment occurred. This openness extended to social media, circumventing the need for a dramatic coming out. Within their social circles, they were met with positive reactions, which fostered greater confidence and sociability. Despite this, they were not altogether shielded from negativity and abuse, having faced physical confrontation on the streets.

The lack of formal supportive structures in schools then becomes a focal discussion. With no gay association at their educational institution, due mainly to attempts to have it led by Christian individuals, they and others were left to navigate their identities largely independently.

Elsewhere within the interview, the conversation turns to relationships and community. The individual's history of relationships has been exclusively with other males, and they note that having a lesbian parent has generally been viewed positively by others in their social spheres.

Regarding support systems, counseling and connections with Rainbow Youth, a local organization serving LGBTQ+ youth, provided crucial backing during the formative times of self-realization and acceptance. These resources, alongside inclusive youth groups, were seen as important components for personal development.

Lastly, the individual sheds light on the challenges faced by young gay people within the community, including dangers related to apparent gender non-conforming appearances. Experiences of sexual abuse and harassment underscore the ongoing struggles within society, highlighting the importance of visibility and support for LGBTQ+ youth.

This summary is created using Generative AI. Although it is based on the recording's transcription, it may contain errors or omissions. Click here to learn more about how this summary was created.

Record date:15th March 2012
Interviewer:Benji Watt
Location:Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (OHDL-003934).