Child and youth voice research findings

Identify Survey: Community and advocacy report

AUTHOR: Fenaughty, J. et al

The Identify Survey is the largest study focused on rainbow young people (aged 14-26) in Aotearoa New Zealand to date. This survey was live between February and August 2021. In total, 4784 rainbow young people and 434 of their allies took part in the survey. 

Key findings included:

  • Participants’ rates of material deprivation in this sample were significantly higher compared to the general population, highlighting the need to recognise the intersectionality of poverty and deprivation for rainbow young people
  • Most schools had rainbow diversity groups or queer-straight alliances and displayed pro-rainbow messages
  • Despite most schools having rainbow diversity groups or queer-straight alliances and displayed pro-rainbow messages, the majority of rainbow students said that they did not feel belonging and supported at school
  • Most tertiary and post-secondary students reported that their learning environments were fair, supportive, and inclusive
  • However, one in six students reported feeling unsafe in their place of study in the last 12 months
  • One in five of the Identify cohort were not in secondary or tertiary education
  • A majority of participants reported they could be themselves at work and that their workplace was supportive of rainbow employees. However many reported concerns of unfair treatment, and negative experiences
  • Three quarters of the Identify participants had poor levels of wellbeing, and in the last year
  • A small but notable proportion of participants had experienced conversion therapy
  • One in six participants had not been able to access healthcare when they needed it
  • Almost one in ten participants had been treated unfairly by a healthcare professional because of their rainbow identity
  • Two in five trans or non-binary participants had accessed at least one type of gender-affirming medication
  • Four out of five participants reported someone in their family/whānau was aware of their rainbow identity
  • However, many reported experiences of whanau members talking in a negative way about rainbow people, being rejected or misgendered.
  • Overall, participants reported a strong sense of connection to friends
  • Just over one third of participants felt comfortable or very comfortable in their cultural and ethnic communities
  • Most participants lived with parent/s or caregiver/s and a quarter lived with flatmates
  • Three quarters of the Identify cohort felt very safe or safe in their current living situation
  • However, high rates of homelessness among rainbow young people, compared to the general population, are a serious concern and require immediate attention.
  • Most participants reported a strong connection to their rainbow identity and rainbow people
  • Most participants also reported that they were regularly involved in a range of activities in their communities
  • One in ten participants reported they were religious, and two in five reported they were spiritual
  • In the face of often-pervasive prejudice and discrimination, rainbow young people are still optimistic for a future that supports and uplifts rainbow communities.
  • Participants shared a range of ideas to enable these positive futures, including institutional changes in health, education, employment, and the media, as well as increased awareness and support from peers, family/ whānau, their religious and ethnic communities, and broader society.
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