Group for par­ents of gay youth starts

Central Leader - - NEWS - By KA­RINA ABA­DIA

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.

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