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Our Kaupapa (Core Principles)


  • Terminology

  • Historical and Contemporary Context

  • Intersections of Identity and Mental Health

  • Common Topics of Discussion in Therapy

  • Accessing Mental Health Support as a Rainbow Person

Practice Guide: Supporting Rainbow Clients

  • Self-Reflection on Identity

  • Affirmative Therapy

  • Asking About Identity

  • Creating a Friendly Therapeutic Space

  • Making Your Service Rainbow-Friendly

  • Finding the Right Balance

  • Common Missteps – and How to Avoid Them

Understanding the Diversity of Experiences Among Rainbow People

  • Gender Norms and Rainbow Identities

  • Transgender People and Gender-Affirming Healthcare

  • Takatāpui People

  • Pasifika Rainbow People

  • Multiple Gender Attracted People

  • Intersex/VSC People

  • Asexual People

  • Non-monogamous People

  • Rainbow People with Disabilities

  • Rainbow Refugees and Asylum Seekers

  • Strengths and Resilience of Rainbow People

References & Further Reading

Rainbow Organisations in Aotearoa


Throughout this guide, we’ll share quotes from people in the rainbow community. We will use different birds to do this instead of using real names.


We use the umbrella terms ‘rainbow people’ and ‘sex, sexuality, and gender diverse people’ throughout this guide. You might have heard different terms for this group, like LGBT or LGBTQIA+. We aim to be as inclusive as possible with our use of language but acknowledge that the terms we use don’t work for everyone.


Our Kaupapa

The information in this resource is based on five guiding principles. When supporting rainbow people in mental health settings:

1. Take an affirmative stance


An affirmative stance embraces a positive view of rainbow identities and relationships and considers the impact of discrimination on the lives of sex, sexuality, and gender diverse clients.

2. Respect self-determination

This means respecting the identities of rainbow clients and the ways they express their identities, as well as following their lead in conversations about identity and mental health.   

3. Engage in self-reflection

Reflecting on our own identities, privileges, and beliefs about sex, sexuality, and gender diversity is central to supporting rainbow clients. This is not a one-time activity, but an ongoing process.

4. Acknowledge the diversity of rainbow people

Rainbow people are often represented as a single homogenous group. Mental health professionals can challenge this by recognising the diversity of experiences and needs among rainbow people.  

5. Learn about rainbow experiences and needs

This includes the common challenges faced by sex, sexuality, and gender diverse people, as well as their strengths and resilience.