Rainbow Experiences Research

Rainbow Experiences Research

A new research report has just been released, Writing Themselves In 4, which takes an in depth look into the health and well being of rainbow young people in Australia.

Here we will report on some of the interesting findings, which may correspond somewhat with life in Aotearoa. There figures are for rainbow people only, and are not compared to the overall population.

Sexuality and Gender

Sexuality by gender

Overall, cisgender people identified overwhelmingly as bisexual, followed by gay. Transgender people overall identified as “something else”, followed by bisexual and pansexual.

Transgender women were most likely to identify as “something else” (29.2%), followed by pansexual or lesbian (23.6% each).

Trans men were most likely to identify as bisexual (30.3%), followed by “something else” (24.1%), then gay (15%).

Non-binary participants were most likely to identify as pansexual (21.1%), then bisexual (19.2%), then queer (17.1%).

Cisgender women were most likely to identify as bisexual (45.3%), followed by lesbian (19%).

Cisgender men were most likely to identify as gay (56.4%), then bisexual (24%).

Gender by sexuality

Lesbian people were most often transgender women.
Pansexual people were most often trans women.
Queer people were most often non-binary people.
Asexual people were most often non-binary people.
People who identified as “something else” were most often transgender women.
Gay people were most often cisgender men.
Bisexual people were most often cisgender women, or transgender men.

Lumping all genders with a particular sexuality together gives a false impression of who needs support

The above section gives us an important insight into how data needs to be collected and analysed.

Often data for lesbians is assumed to relate to cisgender women, but we see here that it is more likely to relate to transgender women. Likewise, data for bisexuals is usually assumed to relate to cisgender bisexuals, but we see here that it is most likely to relate to cisgender women and transgender men. We also see that data relating to asexual, pansexual, queer, and people who identify as “something else” is likely to specifically relate to transgender people, much more than to cisgender people.

Separating gender from sexual orientation (eg. “asexual cisgender women” and “asexual non-binary people”) is the only way to get an accurate picture of who is experiencing what, and where supports and resources are needed.


This section looks at harassment, including verbal, physical, and sexual harassment or assault.

Verbal harassment by gender

The study showed that verbal harassment was most often experienced by trans women at 71.2%, then by trans men at 63.3%, followed by non-binary people at 52.8%. For cisgender rainbow people, this was much lower, with 45% of cis men and 30.2% of cis women experiencing this.

Physical harassment by gender

Physical harassment was experienced most often by trans men at 16.8%, followed by trans women at 15.9%, and non-binary people at 13%. 12% of cisgender men experienced this, and 5.7% of cisgender women.

Sexual harassment by gender

44.8% of transgender women experienced sexual harassment, followed by non-binary people at 27.7%, and trans men at 23.2%. 21.1% of cis men and 20.8% of cis women experienced this.

Harassment by gender

Harassment by sexuality

Verbal harassment By sexuality

Verbal harassment was most frequently experienced by gay people (49.4%), followed by pansexuals (47.7%), then queers (46.4%). Lesbians experienced this the next most frequently at 44.2%, followed by those who identified as “something else” at 38.5%. Bisexual and asexual people came in lowest, at 33.8% and 32.6% respectively.

Physical harassment By sexuality

Physical harassment was highest equally for gay and pansexual people at 13.2%, followed by queer people at 10.2% and those who identified as “something else” at 10%. Lesbians followed at 9.5%, bisexuals at 7.2%, and asexuals at 5%.

Sexual harassment By sexuality

Sexual harassment was most common for queer people (27.4%), followed by lesbians at 25.3%, pansexuals at 24.2%, and “something else” at 23.5%. 21.9% of gay people experienced sexual harassment, followed by 21.4% of bisexuals, and 15.6% of asexuals.

Harassment on the basis of identity

Harassment based specifically on a person’s identity was a separate question.

Identity based verbal harassment by gender

Trans women topped the chart at 71.2%, followed by trans men at 63.3%, and non-binary people at 52.8%. Cis men and cis women experienced this at 45% and 30.2% respectively.

Identity based physical harassment by gender

16.8% of trans men experienced this, followed by 15.9% of trans women, 13% of non-binary people, 12% of cis men, and 5.7% of cis women.

Identity based sexual harassment by gender

44.8% of trans women experienced this, followed by 27.7% of non-binary people, 23.2% of trans men, 21.1% of cis men, and 20,8% of cis women.

Harassment based on identity, by gender

Harassment based on identity, by sexuality

Identity based verbal harassment by sexuality

This was most common for gay participants at 68.4%, followed closely by queer participants at 67.4%. Pansexuals experienced this at 63.4%, followed by lesbians at 60.6%, those who identified as “something else” (53.8%), bisexuals (50%), and asexuals (45.6%).

Identity based physical harassment by sexuality

Again gays experienced this at the highest rate of 21.4%, pansexuals at 20%, queers at 17.6%, “something else” at 15.7%, and lesbians at 14.5%. Bisexuals experienced this at 11.2% and asexuals at 10%.

Identity based sexual harassment by sexuality

Sexual harassment was experienced most commonly by queers at 36.4%, followed by lesbians at 31.9%. and pansexuals at 30.4%. Those identifying as “something else” followed at 30.3%, then gays at 28.9%, bisexuals at 27.7%, and asexuals at 21.7%.

Harassment at school by sexuality

Verbal harassment was most often experienced by gay people (25.6%), followed by pansexuals (24.7%), lesbians (21.7%), “something else” (22.1%), bisexuals (16.6%), and asexuals (12.6%).


Homelessness was most often experienced by trans women (41.3%), then trans men (39.3%), then non-binary people (31.8%). 19.4% and 19.3% of cis women and cis men experienced this.

By sexuality, homelessness was most likely to be experienced by pansexuals (31.4%), queers (28.8%), and “something else” (26.9%). 22.8% of lesbians, 21% of gays, 20.5% of bisexuals, and 19.3% of asexuals experienced this.

Psychological Distress

Much like in Aotearoa, rates of psychological distress were high due to stigma and discrimination, especially for trans people.

“Very high” psychological distress was experienced by 67.9% of trans men, 64% of trans women, and 63.7% of non-binary trans people. Cis women experienced this at 52.2%, and cis men at 34.1%.

By sexuality, pansexual (63.8%), lesbian (57.2%), and queer people (55.5%) were the most likely to experience “very high” psychological distress. This was also experienced by bisexual people at 52.8%, “something else” at 52.6%, asexual people at 48.1%, and gay people at 37.7%. “Low” distress was most commonly reported by gay people at 11.5%, those who identified as “something else” at 5.3%, and bisexuals at 4.9%.

Self harm

By gender, self harm was highest for trans men (85.8%), followed by non-binary people (76.1%), and trans women (68%), with cis women next (63.3%) and cis men last (38.6%).

By sexuality, pansexuals experienced self harm most commonly (74.3%), followed by queers (70.8%), and lesbians (68.4%). Bisexuals and “something else” came in just over 62%, and asexuals at 55.5%.

Suicide review

by gender

Suicidal ideation was most common for trans men at 92.1%, followed by trans women at 90.7%, non-binary people at 87.5%, cis women at 77.5%, and cis men at 67.6%.

A suicide plan was most common for trans men at 73.3%, followed by trans women at 61.3%, non-binary people at 58.4%, cis women at 44.9%, and cis men at 33%.

Suicide attempts were most common for trans men at 46.9%, followed by trans women at 40%, non-binary people at 34.8%, cis women at 22.7%, and cis men at 16.6%.

by Sexuality

Suicidal ideation was most common for pansexuals at 84.8% and queers at 83.1%. They were followed by lesbians at 81.5%, “something else” at 78.8%, bisexuals at 79.3%, asexuals at 75.4%, and gays at 68.8%.

A suicide plan was most common for pansexuals at 57,2%, followed by queers at 53.8%, lesbians at 50.1%, “something else” at 47.4%, bisexuals at 46.6%, asexuals at 42.9%, and gays at 37.6%.

Suicide attempts were most common for pansexuals at 35.1%, followed by both queers and lesbians at 30%, those identifying as “something else” at 25.6%, bisexuals at 23.5%, asexuals at 21.1%, and gays at 19.3%.

in the past 12 months

By gender, in the last 12 months, trans people had much higher rates of suicidal ideation, suicide planning, and suicide attempts than their cisgender rainbow peers.

Pansexual, queer, and lesbian populations also had higher statistics across all areas than their bisexual, gay, asexual, and other rainbow peers.

Raw Sugar Social Events: 2021

Raw Sugar Social Events: 2021

Nau mai haere mai, Raw Sugar free monthly transgender sober social events are back for 2021!

Note: under Covid-19 alert level 2, 3, and 4 all our face-to-face events are cancelled.
If we are in alert level 1, Raw Sugar will operate as usual.

Who & what

Join us for social chats, games, cups of tea, and potluck snacks with lovely people! All transgender and intersex people welcome. Bring yourself, whānau, friends, and finger food kai to share if you want to.

2pm to 4pm: snacks and chats and games (including things like Connect 4, Articulate!, Jackbox TV games, and Unstable Unicorns). The first 2 hours is suitable for folks of any age.

4pm to 6pm: film screening (sometimes rated R16 or R18). This part of the event is more suitable for people aged 16 or over.

When & where

Raw Sugar Wellington is held on the second weekend each month, from 2 till 6pm (usually on the Saturday). We have moved Raw Sugar from our drop in centre at 130 Riddiford street Newtown, into the new venue of the Newtown Community and Cultural Centre – which is now directly across the street upstarirs in the old ANZ building at 2A Green street (down the side street, and on the right).


The venue is fully mobility accessible, with an elevator to the top floor. There are all-genders accessible toilets. We’re aiming for a low allergen space, so no sprays or air-freshers, and please don’t wear perfume or cologne. Disability assist animals are welcome, however due to allergies and phobias please do not bring any other animals. Sometimes we have around 40 people attending, and there is a quieter room available to hang out if it’s a bit noisy.

Dates & times


End of the year

We will be running a rainbow community event at Vinegar Hill in December, on a day TBC between December 27th and December 31st. Check out the Vinegar Hill Gay Camp website for more info.

Creative Workshops at Out in the City

Creative Workshops at Out in the City

Gender Minorities Aotearoa is holding some absolutely amazing creative workshops will at Out in the City; Micheal Fowler Centre, 111 Wakefield street Wellington, Saturday March 27th. These include a Zine making workshop at 11.30am and Pause Blur Grass Witch at 1.30pm. It’s free to attend these workshops but you are welcome to give a donation. We’re looking forward to seeing you!

Zine making workshop 

Starting at 11.30am and running until 12.30pm

Come make zines with Randy that celebrate you and your identity!

A zine is a super easy to make paper booklet that is easily replicated through photocopying. Swap them, sell them, gift them to friends and family! Materials provided, feel free to bring photos and other craft supplies!

Randy is a non-binary transmasculine artist based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington. They teach tweens how to draw cartoon characters and are studying to be a design teacher. In their spare time they make zines and jewellery.

Pause Blur Grass Witch

Starting at 1.30pm and running until 3.30pm

A two part workshop with Connor Fitzgerald and Louie Zalk-Neale

This workshop will focus on queer experience, and everyone is welcome to join in and spend time focusing on the crossovers of our connections to nature, gender and expression. The first part run by Connor will be dedicated to listening, reading, discussing and responding to texts by queer and trans artists and writers. Then after a short break Louie will teach rope making techniques using plant fibres and some surrounding tikanga.

Connor Fitzgerald is a nonbinary transfeminine artist based in Te Whanganui-A-Tara, with a multi-disciplinary practice in video, writing and installation. Connor has recently been in the group show 2+2+2 at Precinct 35, 2020. Solo show What is Faith Without Doubt? at Clearview Gallery 2020.

Louie Zalk-Neale (Ngāi Te Rangi, Pākehā) is a queer artist based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, originally from Hokitika. Louie’s work has recently featured at Artspace Aotearoa’s New Artists Show (Tāmaki Makaurau 2020); Critical Costume Conference (Norway 2020); and Shared Lines Collective at Birdo Flugas Gallery Sendai (Japan) and Kaikōura (2019).

Earlier this month they exhibited at Blue Oyster Art Project Space in Dunedin together.

Ambisexuals or Chasers?

Ambisexuals or Chasers?

Showing at Penthouse Cinema 22 Nov 2020, the film ”Ambisexuality: Seeing More Colour in the Rainbow” was advertised to include a panel discussion by GMA National Coordinator Ahi Wi-Hongi, Dame Catherine Healy DNZM, Georgina Beyer MNZM, and director James Watson.

Gender Minorities Aotearoa explains it’s position on the concepts the film discusses, and why Ahi did not speak at this event.

Content Warning: Film trailer contains transmisogynist slurs. Article discusses genitalia using medical terminology.

There are more colours to the rainbow than you might realise. While awareness, acceptance and inclusion around sexual orientation has been increasing, there is one expression that is virtually unknown: ambisexuality. To fill this gap in the spectrum, director James Watson spent more than 20 years undertaking doctoral studies and writing a book which focuses on the men who love and admire non-operative trans women. – Film Advertising

As you may have guessed, the topic is cis men who are attracted to trans women, but specifically only if the trans woman is ”non-op”, meaning that she has a penis. According to the write up:

”Ambisexual people have not been recognised by the LGBT or straight communities and they experience extreme prejudice and marginalisation.

It’s ok to stop and take a breath.

We recognise that it is in fact trans women who this prejudice is being directed toward, and that men who will only have sexual relationships with trans women in secret, are – at the very least – complicit in this prejudicial treatment.

There is no shame in being a coward. But it does have it’s price. Those who want to have a very specific sexual experience with a trans woman in secret will often have to visit a sex worker and pay for her services.

Broadly speaking, most men and almost all clients of sex workers who are attracted to trans women identify as heterosexual, though some may identify as bisexual, pansexual, or transamorous, etc. When men are predominantly attracted to trans women only on the condition that the trans woman has a penis, they are generally referred to as a ”chaser”. Our Trans 101 Glossary defines a chaser as:

”A person who sees trans people (usually trans women) as inherently sexual, and sexually objectifies them. As opposed to someone who simply is predominantly attracted to trans women; a chaser does not view trans women respectfully as whole people with humanity and agency, but rather as players in a sexual fantasy.”

Respectful partner checklist - cares about more than just how I can please them sexually.

We are not opposed to the existence of chasers, as trans sex workers need clients and chasers are their bread and butter. However trans women are not interested in being valued only for their penis outside of a work relationship. Even within work relationships, many trans women prefer clients who don’t fetishise their penis excessively.

As ”recreational” relationship partners, chasers are more likely to only value trans women for the sex acts they can do with their penis, to keep the relationship a secret, and to be abusive partners in other ways.

The effect of promoting chasers as having a legitimate sexual orientation is that it supports the thinking behind common coercive relationship practices. Examples include when partners of trans women pressure them to not-have genital reconstruction surgeries (GRS), or pressure them to use their penis to have sex in ways that they do not want to.

Written by the director, the book “Ambisexuality: The Anatomy of Transerotic Desire” coins the concept of the ‘Elective vs Extant’ typology, which was defined as choosing to “appropriate some female sex and gender attributes but not others” vs “complete their transformation”. One of the reasons we find this extremely offensive are that this ‘choosing’ is framed as ‘choosing to stay masculine’, which we reject.

There are many issues around access to healthcare, including the enormous cost of surgeries which are severely under-funded and difficult to access. Most trans women can’t think about planning GRS as their healthcare is uniquely undervalued in NZ society. Trans women’s experiences include a huge diversity of embodiments, given the massive range of procedures and practices that exist. Thus, there is no meaningful divide between trans women who have or have not taken steps toward different surgeries or medical treatments.

Beyond issues of access and diversity, we reject that a woman’s penis is masculine – if a woman is ‘feminine’ and has a penis, then her penis is part of her feminine self. We support that women should not have to change their bodies to be considered feminine, complete, or “extant.”

We had (and have) a genuine interest in seeing the film and discussing the nuances and differing perspectives on a seldom-made-public topic. We offered the above feedback to the director, and let him know that Ahi is not a trans woman so another member of GMA staff would speak instead. We also had a request:

“Many trans people and our supporters may attend if we publicise the event, but they will likely also bring criticisms about legitimising chasers via the term ‘ambisexual’, and potentially also bring lifetimes of trauma about sexual partners and wider society obsessing over their genitals. In light of this, we would like to see a copy of the book or e-book, and a copy of the film beforehand, so our promo can be accurate and include a nuanced content warning.

Unfortunately, as we were invited a little over a week before the event and provided our feedback and request just 4 days prior, the director was unable to provide us with a copy of the film, book, or e-book.

We would love to hear your thoughts, and are hoping to hold a community workshop on sex and sexuality for trans people at the upcoming Wellington PRIDE Festival 2021.

Check out our resources on sex and relationships here.