Let’s address the elephant in the room. I’m Asian, an islander from Borneo and a Wellingtonian.
While gay men of European and Māori descent now find it easier to express their sexuality, those from some ethnic minorities are less able to do so.
In many Asian cultures, a person’s sense of identity is more linked to their family than their sexuality.
There may be strong family expectations that a person will marry even if they are homosexual.
Some Asians who migrate to New Zealand feel freer to express their sexuality. I was one of them.
Acceptance is the key. Finding any group or an extended family who accepts you for who you are is hard, especially when your own biological family does not. Trust me, I was in that position.
I recently experienced this incredible acceptance when I joined Tiwhanawhana, a takatāpui community group based in Wellington that welcomes people of diverse sexualities and gender identity.
Takatāpui, in modern terminology, is a Māori individual that identifies as Queer, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans.
Tiwhanawhana exists for the Takata Pui community and gives meaning to its kaupapa or purpose through different threads; Kapa Haka, Advice, Advocacy, Support of LGBTI Community.
With respect, there are so many issues that need addressing like high suicide rates in among gay youth, gay teen homelessness, violence against gay community & last but not least transgender rights.
But if you can’t live how you really want and feel safe in a supportive environment, then fighting the many issues would be even harder.
Remember we can live the lives we want with passionate and supportive friends. We invent our own families and our own traditions. There are many fantastic communities out there. Your job now is to find and join one!
Watch the Tiwhanawhana’s Kapa Haka performance held at the Hongoeka Summer Festival last week here.
Here are some sites to help get you started:
An LGBTIQ Group for Asian Aucklanders – http://equasian.org.nz/
Outline.or.nz – Out Community – http://www.outline.org.nz/our-community/
New Zealand & Australian Sites (Listed Alphabetically) – http://www.gaynz.com/community/links-glbt.php
Te Puna Web Directory: Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered – http://anzasw.org.nz/social_work_practice/web_links/show/275-te-puna-web-directory-gay-lesbian-and-transgendered
Tīwhanawhana – A takatāpui community group based in Wellington – http://www.tiwhanawhana.com/
Last Updated on Mar 2, 2016