Today human rights organisations Gender Minorities Aotearoa, InsideOUT Kōaro, and Auckland Pride filed for judicial review in the High Court. Our case follows the Immigration Minister’s decision to allow Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, a known anti-transgender activist, to enter Aotearoa New Zealand. In addition to the judicial review, we are seeking an interim order to prevent Keen-Minshull from entering the country until the judicial review can take place.
Keen-Minshull (also known as Posie Parker) has a long history of organising and participating in anti-transgender rallies in close connection with neo-Nazi organisations, including rallies in Australia last week which broke out in violence.
“As community organisations deeply committed to the welfare of the communities we serve, Gender Minorities Aotearoa, InsideOUT Kōaro, and Auckland Pride believe that Keen-Minshull’s presence in New Zealand poses a significant threat to public order and a risk to public interest. This is outlined under Section 16 of the Immigration Act,” says Ahi Wi-Hongi, Executive Director of Gender Minorities Aotearoa and spokesperson for the groups.
“The facts in this case are clear, and the Minister’s failure to act is putting our communities in danger. We are not opposing freedom of speech, we are opposing the measurable threat to public order and the safety of transgender people.”
Managing Director of InsideOUT Kōaro, Tabby Besley, says “There is no place for transphobia in Aotearoa, and there is no public interest in the abhorrent views espoused by Keen-Minshull”
Executive Director of Auckland Pride, Max Tweedie, says “We are determined to challenge this decision in order to protect the well-being and safety of our trans, non-binary and takatāpui communities in Aotearoa.”
OutLine Aotearoa and RainbowYOUTH are also in support of the action to prevent Keen-Minshull from entering the country.
“As an organisation supporting the mental health of Rainbow communities across Aotearoa, we are concerned for the immediate safety of trans people, as well as the longer term impacts of the stress, fear and anxiety her visit will cause for many of our trans and non-binary whānau.” says OutLine Aotearoa Chief Executive Claire Black.
RainbowYOUTH’s Executive Director Pooja Subramanian said “Now is the time to lead by example that trans and gender diverse young people deserve protection from systems that are meant to support them, and we are calling on the Minister to enact that.”
Gender Minorities Aotearoa, InsideOUT Kōaro, and Auckland Pride will update their websites and social media as the case progresses. In the meantime, the organisations encourage anyone affected by the current events to take care of each other, to take time to focus on wellbeing, and to reach out for support.
“We are aware of protests being organised in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and encourage allies to go along and support trans communities at these. We are also asking allies to support this cause through donations towards legal costs such as filing fees.” Ahi Wi-Hongi says. “While we expect our costs will be minimal, there is always a risk of escalation in taking a legal case, and every penny helps.”
Any surplus funds will be used by the organisations filing the case to continue advocating for the rights and wellbeing of transgender and rainbow communities.
“Shootings at mosques, and other terrorist attacks, do not come suddenly from nowhere. Rallies against human rights attract the worst kinds of extremists, and absolutely foster hatred and incite violence. We must take reasonable steps to prevent this, and we believe that’s all we’re asking for.”
A super quick guide to writing a letter to the editor of a newspaper
A letter to the editor is a short opinion piece submitted to a newspaper. The opinion page is one of the most widely read pages in the newspaper. This means it’s a great way to get your message out to the public.
What you can write about
The first thing you need to know is that you can only write a letter to the editor in response to article which their outlet published. Alternatively, if you’ve read a letter to the editor in their paper, you can write in response to that.
it’s usually best to send your letter to the editor by email, on the same day as the item you’re responding to. This means your letter can be published in the next day’s paper. Include the subject line ‘letter to the editor.’
Make your letter under 200 words long. Ideally use fewer than 25 words per sentence, one to three sentences per paragraph, and three to five paragraphs maximum. So stick to just a couple of points, and explain them succinctly.
Your letter needs to make sense on it’s own, because the original article will have been published on a different day. Be concise, educational, and compelling. Get straight to the point, and set your argument out logically. In other words, a well written letter is much more likely to get published. Use facts and statistics if you can.
If you want a particular MP to read your message, mention them. They care about how the public thinks about them, and whether their stance on an issue is appreciated or not.
Your letter is most likely to be published if it offers a different perspective, however, the message is more important than the messenger. Avoid saying things like “as a transgender person”.
Lastly, include a call to action. Let people know an action they can take or how they can contact you. You must write your name and full address, though your exact address/street will will not be published.
A press release is a written statement to the media announcing news. It may be published as is or the information in it may be used by the journalist to write a news story.
Start by considering whether your story is new, unique, surprising, or interesting. Next identify who are your target and what are their interests. Take a media angle which they will be interested in.
Lay out your statement in logical order. Making it easy to follow, stay on point, avoid excess detail, and keep it between 300 and 600 words. Keep it truthful and punchy with facts and figures. Short sentences, short paragraphs, no fancy jargon. Deal with who, what, when, where, why, and how. Remember to add human interest.
Get someone to check that your statement makes sense, is easy to understand, and has good grammar and no spelling mistakes. Journalists are very busy; so the more ready for press – the more likely it is to get published.
Follow this with some info about your organisation or group, if you are part of one. Add public contact details if you have these. Under this line, either type ENDS in bold or ###.
Make sure you send a phone number so the journalist can contact you easily.
Send your press release by email, in the body of the message rather than as an attachment.
There are various places you can publish your press release, including New Zealand’s Independent News Media Scoop, as well as Stuffand many other mainstream news outlets.
Counting Ourselves, a national report on transgender health, has just been released.
The survey had 1,178 participants, from all regions of Aotearoa, ranging from 14 to 83 years old.
The research, funded by the Health Research Council and with support from University of Waikato and Rule Foundation, found that trans people experience discrimination at more than double the rate of the general population, almost half of trans people had someone attempt to have sex with them against their will since age 13, and almost a third reported someone did have sex with them against their will since age 13. Participants reported high or very high levels of psychological distress at a rate nine times that of the general population. In the last 12 months, more than half had seriously considered suicide, and 12% had attempted suicide.
In the last 12 months, 13% of participants were asked unnecessary or invasive questions during a health visit
17% reported they had experienced reparative therapy (a professional had tried to stop them from being trans)[note: sometimes called “conversion therapy”]
36% avoided seeing a doctor to avoid being disrespected
Stigma, Discrimination, and Violence
67% had experienced discrimination at some point
44% had experienced discrimination in the last 12 months – this was more than double the rate for the general population (17%)
21% were bullied at school at least once a week, much higher than the general population (5%)
83% did not have the correct gender marker on their New Zealand birth certificate
32% reported someone had had sex with them against their will since they were 13
47% reported someone had attempted to have sex with them against their will since they were 13
Compared to the general population, participants were almost three times more likely to have put up with feeling cold (64%) and gone without fresh fruit or vegetables (51%) in order to reduce costs.
Distress and Suicide
71% reported high or very high psychological distress, compared with only 8% of the general population in Aotearoa New Zealand
56% had seriously thought about attempting suicide in the last 12 months
37% had attempted suicide at some point
12% had made a suicide attempt in the last 12 months
Participants who reported that someone had had sex with them against their will were twice as likely to have attempted suicide in the past year (18%) than participants who did not report this (9%)
Participants who had experienced discrimination for being trans or non-binary were twice as likely to have attempted suicide in the past year (16%) than participants who did not report this discrimination (8%)
Participants’ rate of cannabis use in the last year (38%) was more than three times higher than the general population (12%)
57% reported that most or all of their family supported them. Respondents supported by at least half of their family were almost half as likely to attempt suicide (9%).
62% were proud to be trans, 58% provided support to other trans people, and 56% felt connected with trans community.
GMA National Coordinator talks feminism, the Green party magazine, and anti-trans activism with 95bFM [listen here, 5 mins].
Main points transcribed, or summarised by the speaker:
1. ”it’s not Green policy that’s anti trans, it was one member out of thousands whose writing was unfortunately published without being snapped as anti trans. It’s important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
2. ”throughout history, lots of different groups of women have been treated as though they are a threat – we shouldn’t include them, we shouldn’t give them rights, whether that’s been racial… or disabled women… lots of minority women have been excluded from human rights, and really harmed as a direct result. Far from accidental, anti-trans activists are spreading a targeted campaign of misinformation against trans women, which has really harmful effects on the lives of all trans people.
3. ”Quite often, anti-trans activists try to talk about ”biological sex” as though it has more scientific truth to it than gender has. But that’s sort of the opposite of what feminism says, which is that if sex [or gender] is a class, that’s about the way you’re treated, its about the way society perceives you. So when feminists says ”gender is a construct” or it’s socially constructed, they’re saying it’s something that’s created, based on how people perceive your gender and they therefore treat you – like a traffic light, it’s not a fake traffic light, they’re not pretend and make-believe, they’re constructed by humans, they have specific constructed meanings attached to a red light or a green light. [The constructed meanings are very real]. So when people see you as a trans woman, they’re not likely to treat you better than they would treat you if they just saw you as a woman and didn’t know you were trans. But they are likely to treat you with misogyny, if that is how they treat women. There is no scientific fact to sex that is different to or beyond the science of how gender works.
Note; the research quoted at the beginning of the interview doesn’t cover trans statistics as victims or survivors of sexual violence, but NZ research In Our Own Words shows that trans women experience sexual violence at a rate of 1 in every 2.
Transgender Awareness Week runs from November 12th – 20th, it’s purpose is to raise awareness about trans people, including intersex and non-binary people, our lives, our humanity, our struggles, and our joys. It ends with TDoR, Transgender Day of Remembrance, on November 20th – a day to remember the trans people around the world who have been lost to murder. It is also a day to affirm our resolution to fight for the living, and to end all stigma, discrimination, and violence against trans people.
This Transgender Awareness Week, we have a simple message for Aotearoa New Zealand: Trans people exist, and that’s a positive thing.
Invercargill and Hamilton can also expect to see them on November 18th.
Big shout out to trans folks in smaller cities, towns, and rural areas – let’s work together to make sure every local community embraces us fully and gives us the opportunities, respect, and love we deserve.