Janette Olliver says the community sometimes creates fear for people who identify as LGBT+, as it can be very hard to come out about one’s sexuality.
She was just 13 years old when she came out. She told her friends first before approaching her siblings and cousins.
Eventually she managed to muster the courage to tell her parents who were a “bit shocked” at first, but eventually accepted her sexuality.
Olliver thought she would be kicked out of her home because it happened to other people who she knew.
Her father was a “papa’a” and her mother a Cook Islander, brought up with strong Christian values.
“My mother was taught it was wrong. It was difficult for my mum to understand like many parents, but I never got kicked out.”
In the end, her mother’s love prevailed: “My mum who passed away was my biggest advocate,” she said.
“Those internal fears are created by the community and the society we grow up in. Most of our parents might be cool with it.”