Group for parents of gay youth starts
Amanda Aarons accepts her son Josh just the way he is.
But she had a lot of questions when he came out a few years ago.
She went looking for a support group where she and her husband Gavin could connect with other parents of gay children. The Glendowie woman couldn’t find one in Auckland and decided to create one.
The newly formed Holding Our Own group meets every second Tuesday at Rainbow Youth on K Rd. It provides support to parents and extended family members of young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or queer.
‘‘The aim is to make sure people have a place to talk and thrash out ideas about how best to handle situations that might be difficult or uncomfortable,’’ the 46-year-old says.
‘‘I think the more educated the community is in terms of handling diversity, the better off everyone will be.’’
For Josh, telling people he was gay was a mostly positive experience.
‘‘I had one friend that after many years of friendship told me I was an abomination. But pretty much I was surprised at the people that I thought wouldn’t be supportive who were really quite OK with it.’’
But he knows of many others whose families are less understanding. He’s met young people who have been kicked out of home for their sexuality or who aren’t allowed to talk about it at home.
‘‘I have a lot of friends who don’t have supportive parents and they end up relying on their friends to be their family.
‘‘I think it’s kind of sad that it’s almost normal for them that they don’t have family members they can talk to on a daily basis,’’ he says.
Inclusive approach: Amanda Aarons, pictured with her son Josh, has started a support group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer young people and their families.