We provided 1:1 peer support over 2,000 times, and there were over 600 visits to our Wellington drop in centre. Our website was visited over 101,000 times with 209,000 page views.
Our healthcare referral system was used over 6,000 times, and we received over 1,100 referrals from healthcare providers across the country. Our HRT guide was read over 5,000 times. We also trained over 500 healthcare workers, particularly in mental health and addictions.
Our Rainbow Housing NZ group grew by 500 members to 3,100+, Housing was an area which suffered greatly due to covid 19, so this year much of our work in this area was in supporting individuals to find housing.
We held a successful campaign to pass the BDMRR Bill for self determination/self ID on birth certificates. Our resources were read 15,600+ times, we distributed 100’s of pamphlets and posters, the community turned out amazing submissions, and the law was passed. Our guide to updating your birth certificate sex marker updates was also read 2,000+ times, and a member of our staff became a Justice of the Peace to witness birth certificate documents.
We facilitated connectedness for 2,100+ trans people, whānau, and supporters in our online Transgender and Intersex NZ group, our “trans 101” resource was read more than 42,000 times (15,000 more times than in 2020), and our main parents resource was read more than 1,000 times (double 2020).
We released 6 new healthy relationships and sexual violence prevention resources in 2021. We also began work with Intersex Aotearoa on a joint project – ARC (Anti-violence Resource Centre) which will launch in 2022. We worked on the government’s National strategy to eliminate family violence and sexual violence, together with other members of the Rainbow Violence Prevention Network (RVPN).
We run the national transgender housing support service. This includes support with accessing emergency housing, transitional housing, and council housing. It also includes the national LGBTQI+ Rainbow Housing NZ group online. Our rainbow housing network was established in 2017, and has over 2,800 members in 2021.
If you need support with emergency housing, contact us to discuss your situation and the options available to you in your area.
If you’re looking for a room in an established transgender-friendly home, or if you have a room to offer in yours, visit Rainbow Housing NZ by clicking the image below.
Help transgender people find housing
If you would like to help us support transgender people to find safe housing, you can set up an easy monthly donation using the buttons below, or visit our donations page for more options.
Despite the global pandemic, we had a very successful year across all five of these areas.
We provided 1:1 peer support over 1,300 times, and there were over 500 visits to our Wellington drop in centre. Our website was visited over 61,000 times with 118,000 views.
We made over 4,100 health referrals, and received over 500 referrals from healthcare providers across 9 DHBs. We held a 3DHB community update, and produced 2 health resources.
Our Rainbow Housing NZ group grew to 2,600+ members, we met with the UN Special Rapporteur on Housing, and we published a housing report from our research into homelessness and housing instability in Wellington. We sent Counting Ourselves to key figures at the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development – which then named trans people as a priority group.
Our guide to birth certificate sex marker updates was read over 1,400 times, and we assisted a number of people in making applications. We were also on the BDMRR working group for the Minister of Internal Affairs.
We facilitated connectedness for 1,700 trans people, whānau, and supporters in our online Transgender and Intersex NZ group, we held or significantly participated in 15 community events, our “trans 101” resource was read more than 27,000 times, and our parents resource was read more than 300 times.
Gender Minorities Aotearoa undertook research in the Wellington region in late 2019, in order to gain understandings of the circumstances surrounding homelessness for transgender people; their experiences of it, the support services required to address it, and the housing aspirations of those experiencing it. This report details the findings of the research in which 43 participants contributed.
These participants are mostly European/Pākehā young adults and gender diverse. A large proportion of them have had relatively stable home environments as children, yet many of them have experienced situations of homelessness from an early age. All of the participants disclose that they have at least one health condition, with the three most prevalent conditions being: mental health condition, neuro-diversity, and disability. For most, employment opportunities and incomes are limited.
The participants tend to move housing within the same region; moving across regions seems to be less frequent. However, most of the participants change sleeping arrangements frequently, from every few weeks to every few months. This is due to a number of concurrent and compounding factors such as poor quality housing, temporary availability, unaffordability, and eviction. All of the participants have been able to sleep in safe and relatively long-term housing at some point over the past five years, however, about two-thirds of them have also experienced unsafe, temporary, or exposed forms of housing.
When describing safe, stable and long-term housing, the participants mention affordability and good quality housing as key criteria, as well as positive relationships with flatmates; in particular, flatmates who are not transphobic or sex worker phobic. The characteristics of the neighborhood are also important to consider (e.g. close to public transport and services). Finding appropriate housing is impacted by experiences of stigma and interpersonal prejudice, structural and systemic discrimination, potential changes to whānau composition, and limited financial capacity; necessitating moving frequently to try to improve one’s situation. To help in their search for suitable housing, the participants rely on their close networks such as friends and family, and the use of technology including social media and apps. Many also contact professional organisations or support services. A range of other strategies are used, including the provision of semi-commercial sexual services.
A number of recommendations are provided to help address some of the disparities highlighted in this research. They include an emphasis on prevention and better access to the welfare system, as well as the delivery of timely and integrated support services when people experience homelessness. Safety is a critical factor and needs to be reflected in the provision of temporary/emergency housing, as well as long-term housing (e.g. council and public housing aimed at trans and non-binary people). These need to be complemented by other actions to address disparities and assist people to sustain their housing. For example: reducing discrimination across education and employment in order to be able to afford rent; better access to appropriate healthcare services to enable trans people retain employment; and education campaigns to reduce stigma and discrimination.
Our key points included that one in five trans people experiences homelessness at some point during their lifetime, 19% overall, or 25% of non-European trans people. Of course the rates are higher for Maori trans people, disabled trans people, etc.
Primarily this looks like attempting to rent through private landlords or property managers and being declined (though it is not usually stated that being trans is the reason for this, the statistics speak for themselves).
Part of the issue is that the housing market is unregulated – meaning that property investors can own as many properties as they like and charge as much as they like in rent fees. This creates undue competition for low income housing, as there are very few decent houses which are rented at affordable rates for those with low income.
As trans people experience high rates of discrimination across all areas of life, including education and employment, the median income of trans people is half the median income of the general population., so a lack of low income housing affects trans people disproportionately, even before we factor in housing discrimination toward trans people.
Trans people simply don’t have a chance.
– Ahi Wi-Hongi, National Coordinator . .
The other key issue we raised was that temporary emergency accommodation is severely lacking, and for trans people it is almost non-existent. Most emergency housing services are either for women or for men, and often this means that trans people are either unsafe and uncomfortable, or are simply not allowed.
One of the possible solutions we raised is to ensure that the government legislates a requirement that property investors who own more than a few properties are required to rent the remaining properties out as low income housing. This would still allow home ownership, batches, and a handful of high income rentals, but investors would need to rent out all other properties as affordable housing, thus bringing rents down and ensuring that housing takes a step toward being seen as infrastructure rather than a commercial commodity.
The take home message overall was that it is a Human Right to have decent housing, and that the government needs to take responsibility for ensuring that everyone has a decent home to live in.
Please contact your local MP and tell them what you think and why, write a letter to a newspaper, an article online, and talk with your friends and whanau. Change can only come if we push for it.
Ms Leilani Farhais the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context. She took up her mandate in June 2014. Farha is the Executive Director of the NGO Canada without Poverty, based in Ottawa. A lawyer by training, for the past 20 years Ms. Farha has worked both internationally and domestically on the implementation of the right to adequate housing for the most marginalized groups, and on the situation of people living in poverty. Her most recent report to the Human Rights Council focusses on access to justice for the right to housing.