Being left without a home, or in an unsafe one during a global crisis is not an ideal situation – but for a lot of queer, gender-diverse & intersex people in Aotearoa, this is the reality. RainbowYOUTH talks to Express about queer housing struggles in a time of pandemic.
Around the world, we have data that shows that queer, gender diverse and intersex young people are disproportionately affected in youth homelessness statistics. For many, identity can play a huge role in unsafe or unstable living situations and be one of the main drivers into being at risk of or experiencing homelessness.
Queer, gender-diverse & intersex young people are at significantly high risk of becoming homeless. As seen in the Counting Ourselves Survey transgender & non-binary people are more likely to be:
- – Denied renting a home due to being trans or non-binary (11%)
- – Kicked out of home due to being trans or non-binary (6%)
- – Expected to have an annual income of less than the NZ Median Income (68%)
- – Homeless due to violence from a partner or family member (6%)As New Zealand settles into Alert Level 4, many queer, gender-diverse and intersex people are forced into living situations where their sexuality or gender identity is not accepted, purely out of necessity. For a lot of these people, isolation also means not being able to access the support networks that usually help them. Whether these are online or in-person support networks, being in a shared space can lead to lesser privacy and fear of being outed.
Luckily for RainbowYOUTH and other rainbow organisations, young people are pretty used to connecting with us and other communities online, so they’ve been able to adjust quickly. But even the most resilient of us would struggle being isolated with unaccepting whānau, and little to no outlets to express your identity. This could definitely take a toll on people’s mental health and their safety.
As the isolation period continues, RainbowYOUTH are expecting an increase in support requests, and all of our services are still available virtually. They recommend that people do what they can to take care of themselves – try going for walks and getting out of the house, connect with supportive people online, and find people who get you. If you need any help with this, get in touch with RainbowYOUTH.
RainbowYOUTH’s main message to rainbow people across Aotearoa right now is that this is a temporary situation, and we will get through it. Our communities are made up of so many resilient, supportive, caring and giving people – so until this is over, make sure you reach out for support, check-in with your friends and fellow community members, and do the things that make you feel more yourself as best you can. For everything else, RainbowYOUTH will do their best to help!
Check out this list here for accessing support for rainbow people during COVID-19.