Hohou te Rongo Kahukura

Coming out might be easier these days, but there’s still plenty of people who worry about reactions from family, friends or workmates.

That’s where seven-week course The Big Q’s comes in. “It’s for adults over 18 who are starting to question their gender or sexuality, because we know that can be a scary time for people,” says Bex Fraser, programme facilitator with Hohou Te Rongo Kahukura.  “I came out as bisexual and non-binary in the Waikato in my late twenties, so I know what it’s like.”

“We talk through the fears and joys of coming out and how to negotiate this with family and friends, and help people connect to others on similar journeys. And it’s free!”

The course, available through Fraser High School, is a safe place to explore being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, or any other identities people might have.  “There are lots of ways to describe ourselves, under our gorgeous Rainbow,” laughs Bex.

Maraea completed The Big Qs last term. “I joined because I needed to educate myself about our community. I also wanted to get to know people and make friends. I found a lot of clarity on what can be issues in relationships,” she says.

Co-facilitators Caya Divakalala and Tim Bennett, also from Hohou Te Rongo Kahukura, agree.

“I first identified as queer in the early 2000s in Sri Lanka,” says Caya. “For me it’s especially important to recognize the Rainbow includes people of all ethnicities and cultures, because it can be very lonely if you don’t know anyone like you.”

The different perspectives group members bring is part of the joy of the group. “We cover Rainbow history, social life, topics like consent and healthy relationships,” enthuses Tim, originally from Ngāruawāhia. “I can’t wait to connect with beautiful people and to give whatever support I can on navigating life over the Rainbow.”

The Big Q’s has been running for five years. It’s now available every term at Fraser High School. 

https://www.fraser.school.nz/com-edu/course/the-big-qs-joining-the-rainbow-community

Hohou Te Rongo Kahukura has resources about healthy relationships and safety on their website: https://www.kahukura.co.nz/