Historical and Contemporary Context
Intersections of Identity and Mental Health
Common Topics of Discussion in Therapy
Accessing Mental Health Support as a Rainbow Person
Self-Reflection on Identity
Asking About Identity
Creating a Friendly Therapeutic Space
Making Your Service Rainbow-Friendly
Finding the Right Balance
Common Missteps – and How to Avoid Them
Gender Norms and Rainbow Identities
Transgender People and Gender-Affirming Healthcare
Pasifika Rainbow People
Multiple Gender Attracted People
Rainbow People with Disabilities
Rainbow Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Strengths and Resilience of Rainbow People
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.
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.