You probably find it distressing that along with that deep-rooted viewpoint, many people imagine that for you to be LGBTQI… you’d have to be experimenting… choosing to be different… rebelling against society… going through a phase… just being fashionable…?? And you are so aware of the automatic prejudice that follows… even from the most lovely and socially accepting people in all other circumstances.
So our empathy goes to you; acknowledging how hard you would find confiding in any one person, let alone more, and be sure of genuine acceptance. You have to battle the stigma of being labelled LGBTQI+ and the stigma of feeling lonely!
And for those of you still feel you haven’t figure out your life, we appreciate your journey… that you might still question who you really are… or be in the process of understanding your own identity. And some of you may not have ‘come out’ even to yourselves, let alone to others.
So if you are one of the many individuals who feels lonely through being a Rainbow person, or you know of someone who feels loneliness in this way, then read on. In fact even if you suspect others might be lonely, and they stoically say they aren’t, it’s worth understanding loneliness and Rainbow issues better.
Let’s not get hung up on the acronyms; and rather focus on the importance of how little is known by so many of the population about Rainbow’s complexity; and how lonely it can be for many people to keep who they really are a secret… sometimes for their whole lives.
Just as you might find it hard to understand how people who were always clear about their sexual identity might be lonely, it’s also hard for them to really grasp how very lonely you might be: what it’s like:
… and in addition to these, you undoubtedly identify with many of the same loneliness problems that aren’t related to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics.
Different people who may identify as Rainbow New Zealand
Akava’ine, Asexual, Bisexual, Fa’afatama, Fa’afafine, Fakafifine, Fakaleiti, Ftm, Gay, Genderfluid, Genderqueer, Homosexual, Intersex, Inquiring, Leiti, Lesbian, Mahu, Palopa, Mtf, Non-Binary, Pansexual, Queer, Takatāpui, Tangata Ira Tane, Tongzh, Trans, Transgender, Transsexual, Vakasalewa, Whakawahine
Māori have long recognised takatāpui as a way of life. New Zealand outlawed discrimination of sex and sexual orientation as part of the Human Rights Act. Nonetheless as a population we still have great sensitivity answering survey questions on gender identity and sexual orientation. Nevertheless, in the 2018 General Social Survey we showed for the first time how lonely we can be. Bisexual and other sexual identities had the highest prevalence of feeling lonely most/all the time of the 65 demographic groups that make up the survey. Unfortunately there was insufficient data to know how lonely are gay or lesbian sexual identities.
Academic research by Lara Greaves, as part of the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study, did give some feedback that almost 6% of the respondents identified as not being straight heterosexual: 2.6% responded that they as gay or lesbian, 1.8% bisexual, 0.6% bicurious, 0.5% pansexual and 0.3% asexual. While each of these numbers is small, as a minority group, you as a Rainbow person are amongst substantial thousands of people. And as someone from a minority group, you have our empathy… we know you are more apt to suffer from loneliness, and it’s reasonable to expect that many of those who responded in the study have already experienced considerable loneliness.
We have a high concern that many Rainbow people who, despite NZ Human Rights act making discrimination of sex and sexual orientation illegal, are not accepted as equals in our communities. And we are saddened that our society prevents some of you from being open about yourselves and your preferences for who you would feel most comfortable in an intimate relationship.
Given many of our seniors identifying as LBGT were born into a scenario where being gay was against the law, these are the people who are likely to have been the loneliest holding their secret for longer… potentially even from family members.
What is particularly frightening is the loneliness that any of you in this group must have felt when you were self-harming, seriously thinking if suicide, becoming increasingly depressed. We feel despair knowing that your loneliness might have ultimately led to attempts of suicide
While we are aware that you could still feel lonely [and even become lonelier] within a group, especially when there are such wide differences for how you might identify as being a Rainbow person, there is something positive in there being more LBGTQI+ groups in New Zealand.
These are some of the current NZ Facebook groups with numbers of members or followers:
Mr Gay New Zealand (2,567); Rainbow Labour New Zealand (2,403); Rainbow Greens of Aotearoa New Zealand (1,427); Rainbow Wellington (1,154); Transgender and Intersex NZ (785); Gay and Lesbian Doctors New Zealand (500); LGBT+ Youth New Zealand (478); Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays Palmerston North (241); Deaf Rainbow LGBT of New Zealand (211); and NZ Lesbian/Bi Dating (147).
In 2008, only 400 to 800 people belonged to trans organisations.
Feeling socially isolated occurs when people, like you, are not connected into their communities in a meaningful way. And you feel lonelier when the quality of your relationships deterioriate. To name a few, loneliness in the LBGTQI+ might be exacerbated when:
These are very real issues for you;
and some are not quick fixes! So despite these challenges it’s vital you actively find ways to ensure that you – and those around you – are emotionally healthy.
Solitude is very important for people to reflect and to come to grips with their situation. Being alone for short periods are also not necessarily unhealthy. What we are considering is the type of loneliness which is prolonged and might be damaging to an individual’s health and wellbeing.
Some people talk about their loneliness; other’s don’t; Some might not recognise that they are actually suffering from loneliness.
When people, like you, are already lonely, having people around you that you aren’t able to connect with on a deeper level, might even make your loneliness worse.
Research has shown that when socially isolated people aren’t getting enough regular human contact that can create problems with their family members and people who they do end up talking to.
This manifests behaviour such as:
These are just the surface of the ways you might be showing signs of being lonely… and that you could recognise in others.
So where to from here?
you all have a unique story.
How long you have been lonely; What you believe causes your particular loneliness; and what you have already tried to alleviate the loneliness.
To get to the heart of your loneliness we would like to get to know you!
Your personality, your eccentricities, and your values are all part of what makes you feel your loneliness more than some others.
Your next step
We appreciate the trust you would place in us to talk openly and frankly – so we promise no judgements – genuine empathy, respect and confidentiality.
Then when we have understood you better, we can help you move forward. Help you form better connections with your spread out communities, with your friends and your families…wherever they are in the world.
If you are ready to take the next step, click the button to get started addressing your loneliness:
People feel lonely for many reasons. To learn more about other minority and lonely categories, select one of the coloured boxes below, or scroll down the “I’m feeling lonely” menu.
With our help you can conquer your loneliness by taking better care of your inner self.
And we can conquer loneliness in New Zealand by better understanding and accepting each other.
So when you are ready…click here.
We look forward to hearing your view of the world!