GMA is part of the Sex and Gender Diverse Health Outcomes Working Group (SGDWG) – alongside a number of DHB healthcare providers and clinicians, as well as trans and intersex people working in this area.
The SGDWG works across Capital and Coast District Health Board (Wellington and Kapiti region) to develop appropriate, well-resourced, and equitable gender affirming healthcare.
The SGDWG is holding it’s second annual community event, with a panel discussion/panel presentations explaining what services are now available and how you can access them, as well as plans for the near future.
There will also be an opportunity to ask questions and give feedback.
This will be held on on Tuesday 10th of November at 5.30pm, at the the Newtown Community and Cultural Centre on the corner of Colombo and Rintoul Streets in Newtown.
The Newtown Community and Cultural Centre is mobility accessible, and there will be kai and drinks provided.
Trans, intersex and rainbow community organisations are very disappointed to hear there will be no progress before the election on a Bill that would make it easier for trans and intersex people to amend sex details listed on their birth certificates.
On Tuesday 23 June, the Minister of Internal Affairs confirmed in a media report that there would be no law change this Parliamentary term. Community members are also concerned that a report delivered to the Minister in February 2020 on reducing barriers under the current law is yet to be released.
In February 2019, the Minister of Internal Affairs announced that the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill was deferred. Almost six months later, on 1 August 2019, the Minister announced the appointment of a Working Group to provide her with advice on practical improvements to the current Family Court process.
The Working Group’s role included commissioning the Department of Internal Affairs to conduct interviews with trans and intersex people to hear how to improve people’s interactions with government services involved in the process for amending sex details recorded on birth certificates. Gender Minorities Aotearoa, F’INE, RainbowYOUTH, the Intersex Trust Aotearoa NZ (ITANZ) and other community organisations helped promote these confidential interviews and hosted some in community venues.
“People told us they gave up their time to be interviewed because they wanted to share the barriers they had faced so that the process would improve for other Pasifika people in the future”, said F’INE Director, Phylesha Brown-Acton.
In her media release announcing the Working Group, the Minister identified the financial, time, and dignity barriers trans and intersex people faced under the existing law.
“It is hugely concerning if the Minister has been reported accurately on Tuesday as saying “we don’t need to remove any barriers” and if the only solutions being considered are about providing education within the courts and to trans and intersex communities” said Frances Arns, Executive Director of RainbowYOUTH.
“Trans organisations and community groups have been creating and sharing information about the current Family Court process, both face to face and online, for a long time. And holding community legal clinics”, said Ahi Wi-Hongi, National Coordinator, Gender Minorites Aotearoa. “Education is important but, on its own, is not going to enable more than a small fraction of our community to be able to amend their birth certificates”.
The Aotearoa New Zealand Trans and Non-Binary Health Survey, Counting Ourselves, published in September 2019, found that 83% of participants had the incorrect gender listed on their birth certificate. The most common reason why trans people did not have identification documents with the correct gender marker was because they only had the option of choosing male or female.
“The lack of a non-binary option on birth certificates is an insurmountable barrier for many trans people and requires a law change”, said Counting Ourselves’ principal investigator and University of Waikato Senior Lecturer, Dr Jaimie Veale.
“The Working Group was asked to look at the specific experiences of trans children and their families and of intersex people who want to correct their birth certificate details, ”, said Tabby Besley, Managing Director, InsideOUT. “We need the Working Group’s findings and progress on the Bill to make schools safer for trans and intersex children and youth”.
“The current law requires evidence from medical experts and a court process. This creates a barrier to access for trans people who may not be able to afford a lawyer, especially trans young people”, said Qtopia 2IC, Jennifer Shields.
“Everyone wants trans and intersex young people to grow up among whānau and community who love them and recognise that they are who they say they are,” said Joey Macdonald, Training Lead for Te Ngākau Kahukura. “Young people’s right to an identity is described in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Our current law presents unacceptable barriers to trans and intersex young people amending their official documents to match their identity.”
On 19 June 2020, the Human Rights Commission released Prism, a report and recommendations on human rights issues faced by trans, intersex, and other Rainbow communities in Aotearoa New Zealand.
“The Commission’s report concludes that the current law does not meet New Zealand’s international human rights obligations, because it does not protect trans and intersex people’s rights to self-determination, bodily integrity and non-discrimination”, said OUTLine’s co-chair Moira Clunie. “The passage of the Bill, with improvements recommended by the Commission, will better protect these rights and reflect concerns raised by trans and intersex communities”, said OUTLine co-chair Aych McArdle.
“Intersex people require the freedom of self-determination, bodily autonomy and recognition of their diversity, and this is an inherent right under international law”, said ITANZ Co-President, Dr Rogena Sterling. “Any legal and policy changes regarding official identity documentation must consider the diverse needs of the intersex community in Aotearoa.”
“Aotearoa should be a place where inclusive laws and practices uphold the mana and dignity of takatāpui and LGBTIQ / rainbow people and address the systemic issues that result in discrimination and violence against us,” says Dr Elizabeth Kerekere, Chair of Tīwhanawhana Trust. “We call on the Government to make good on previous assurances of support to our whānau and communities including by supporting the human right of trans, non-binary and intersex people to self-define their identity.”
The human rights issues faced by trans and intersex communities are often invisible. Trans, intersex and rainbow community organisations strongly encourage all political parties to take these issues seriously this election and demonstrate how their policies and actions will meet the human rights obligations set out in the Human Rights Commission’s Prismreport.
Below is the letter from The Affiliation, sent to the ‘international’ pride parade committee 24/02/2020
24th February 2020 Wellington Rainbow Affiliation Towards Hope (‘The Affiliation’)
Dear Wellington International Pride Parade Committee,
The Affiliation affirms that we welcome an open and honest public consultation process. We do not believe that closed door meetings are appropriate, as these concerns are not just from a few individuals, or a few organisations, but countless members of our community who have been asking for an opportunity to have a say across a three year period. For example, see the attached screenshot on your public Facebook event showing a comment from 33 weeks ago from a community member, asking if you would be holding community consultation. Their question has still not been addressed, despite the most recent comment only being a few days ago. Holding a private meeting will not address the public’s concerns, or give them an opportunity to have their ideas heard.
Open consultation with your Wellington rainbow whānau should not be a point of fear, but rather a part of your mandate. Talking with the community is necessary in order to hold a public community event. If there is no willingness amongst committee members to hold open and honest community consultations, we suggest that you find committee members who are willing to do this.
Please see additional comments below, which were sent to us from some of the 140+ individuals and 14 community organisations that have so far signed the letter calling for the community to boycott until the International Pride Parade committee holds open and honest public consultations.
We will also be publishing this letter publicly.
Wellington Rainbow Affiliation Toward Hope.
Quotes from rainbow people who sent us feedback on the letter which The Affiliation penned 17/02/2020.
“I love Pride month and usually feel very connected to my community, but I don’t feel heard or represented by WIPP.”
“Any local Pride event should engage and be run in consultation with the LBGTQIA community with whom it seeks to represent.“
“Who is the parade for if it isn’t for our community?”
“Pride parades should always be places where community is the focus and the most vulnerable and marginalized are given the love, care, support and empowerment they need. They should also be about challenging the aspects of society that are harmful to our greater communities. They can be bright, fun and colourful but style and presentation should never come before the above mentioned values”
“I have never felt included or welcomed regarding WIPP. I’ve never had any interest in going, it’s just so clearly not marketed toward me as a participant or even an audience. I’ve never understood why it claims to be a pride event when it doesn’t seem to want rainbow people to even attend.”
“It often feels like our voices aren’t being heard at all, and the WIPP’s blatant refusal to communicate only highlights this. I would love to see more inclusion from communities, and to have more interaction between the Queer Community and the WIPP as a whole.”
“I feel that WIPP did not consult the relevant rainbow groups in depth enough and instead pandered to corporations with false misleading intentions that ultimately caused pride to be a corporate, shallow and soulless wreck last year.”
“WIPP has been completely uncooperative and is out of touch with the Wellington Gay community. It doesn’t represent us or have our best interests at heart. It’s time for change.”
“I’ve flown to Auckland for OurMarch last year and this year and don’t see WIPP as representing the whole community in its current form.”
“Pride Parades should be governed, led and for Rainbow communities. “
”Pride is for queer people to be free to represent ourselves. It’s not a place for the most vulnerable members of our community to be excluded. If organisers of a “Pride” event can’t see that, they need to sit down and hand over the reins to people who can represent our community in the true spirit of PRIDE.”
“Pride is about the community and as such needs to represent the community’s values and views.“
“I would like to see the community once again joining together to celebrate their Pride in a parade that’s for everyone. In the current setup I can’t see this happening and want to join the voices raising awareness about this issue. I haven’t attended in recent years as I can’t see the community supporting it.”
“I remember these conversations far too well – saddened to hear that people in our community, especially those that are already minorities or marginalised, are being silenced. “
Wellington Rainbow Affiliation Towards Hope (WRATH, “the affiliation”) is an alliance of LGBTQI+ organisations, groups, and small business owners in Wellington. It has this week penned a letter calling rainbow people in Wellington to stand together to ensure Wellington International PRIDE Parade (WIPP) engages in meaningful community consultation.
Though not leading this affiliation, GMA has agreed to host the letter here, so that a diverse range of individuals and groups can add their support or provide feedback to the affiliation. Its letter is posted below.
Letter to WIPP from WRATH (the affiliation)
You may have noticed the absence of various Rainbow Community groups from last year’s Wellington International Pride Parade (WIPP), as did the organisers. The reason for that absence was a growing feeling from many rainbow people that WIPP does not represent us, and is not about us, nor for us.
There are three core issues, as identified by rainbow organisations which have heard feedback from many sectors of the rainbow population in Wellington
WIPP is not connected with rainbow people broadly, nor with the community organisations who engage with rainbow people on a daily basis.
WIPP organisers are not representative of rainbow populations, nor are they elected by a demographically representative diverse group.
WIPP refuses to engage meaningfully with community feedback, including requests by rainbow community support organisations to meet for discussion.
WIPP states in its 2019 annual report that among its values is a need for them to be “Supportive of and by LGBTQI-Plus communities”. It goes on to promise that WIPP “will always work, collectively, to bring LGBTQI-Plus communities together with each other and with the communities within which we live”.
WIPP’s Board Charter says – ‘’All board members will actively consult with members of the community’’. However, in practice, WIPP refuses to consult with the community broadly despite repeated requests, and thus has no right to claim to represent us and our interests.
2018: The rainbow youth organisations InsideOUT and OuterSpaces tried extensively to engage WIPP and were met with silence. After the 2018 parade, an open letter from dozens of rainbow individuals in Wellington was published, calling for a community consultation.
2019: Tīwhanawhana Trust held a community hui on what is important to our communities with regard to Pride events and the Pride Parade. Only one WIPP organiser attended, and did not engage at all.
2020: Gender Minorities Aotearoa, InsideOUT, Naming New Zealand, UniQ Victoria, and Ivy Bar and Cabaret collectively wrote to WIPP’s board asking them to hold consultations and start a process of engagement with Wellington’s rainbow communities. This request was flatly refused in writing.
In WIPP’s 2019 annual report it is evident that WIPP is about celebrating Wellington as a whole, and is aimed toward international tourism, and corporate sponsors, rather than rainbow people. If WIPP wants to hold a parade to celebrate Wellington, primarily funded by WCC tourism funding, they need to call it a Wellington Parade, not a Pride Parade. WIPP is NOT a Pride parade; WIPP is NOT about supporting rainbow people nor building rainbow communities.
“Too much corporate / state representation which overshadowed the few community groups.”
We note that almost 20% of WIPPs membership work for Wellington City Council, including Councillor Nicola Young. WIPP membership is made up of people representing Orchestra Wellington, Armstrong Prestige, PrimeProperty, Air New Zealand, Countdown, and Westpac.
Based on the 2019 WIPP annual report, of the 37 listed participants, only 10 were rainbow community entries, including state and political parties.
WIPP uses the word “Inclusivity” to justify the inclusion of, for example, an armored vehicle in the 2019 parade, even though doing so was traumatic for, and in fact excluded, migrant and refugee rainbow people- at least two families who had fled war in their home countries. An inclusive event is one which uses a Human Rights approach to take into account the needs of minority groups within the rainbow – such as disabled rainbow people and rainbow refugees. “Inclusivity” needs to mean the inclusion of rainbow people and rainbow community groups is the priority.
In contrast, Wellington Pride Festival Inc. (Out Wellington) has historically organised the Pride Hikoi, and are representative of, elected by, and accountable to the rainbow people of Wellington. They coordinate and oversee the entire two-week long Pride Festival including a full-day fair – Out in the Park, a community hīkoi, a youth ball, and facilitate over 100 events run by members of our rainbow communities. Out Wellington in the past has run a large scale Pride Parade that was as visible as any of WIPP’s. They managed to run this, promote our community, and include all areas of Wellington, with a fraction of the funding WIPP receives for a single 30 minute parade.
We believe that the problems with WIPP could be resolved by:
Having a diverse ‘rainbow community’ elected board, with requirements for representation of different populations of rainbow people (eg lesbian, gay, transgender, etc).
Having more community floats than corporate floats – eg, every corporate entry to sponsor two community entries.
Asking the community what we want – open and meaningful community consultation.
We invite all of Wellington’s rainbow community organisations, rainbow owned and rainbow staffed businesses, and rainbow individuals to join us as we work to hold WIPP accountable to being representative of and responsive to our community.
We invite you to participate in the PRIDE Hīkoi, which is a Pride March along a mobility accessible route starting at 9am on Feb 22nd in Civic Square, ending at Waitangi Park for the Out in the Park fair – an annual event in it’s 32nd year that sees thousands of people visit every year.
The Pride Hīkoi and Out in the Park are a genuine and authentic opportunity to come together to celebrate pride and our rainbow communities.
Signed, Wellington Rainbow Affiliation Towards Hope.
Te Aito Rangatira, Auckland Pride Festival Incorporated, Aunty Dana’s Op Shop, Gender Minorities Aotearoa, InsideOUT, Ivy Bar and Cabaret, Naming New Zealand, Opportunity for Animals Opshop, Promised Land Tales, QUILTED BANANAS Radio Collective, Stillwaters Community, The Black Sheep Animal Sanctuary Otaki, The Gender Centre Wellington, Tranzform, UniQ Victoria, Wellington Timebank.
Charlotte Algie, Lucia Amatiello, Amy, Alex Araya, Arthel Banog, Emma Barnes, Molly Black, Emily Blincoe, Georgina Bloomfield, Suzanne Blumsky, Morgana Brewer, Benoite Broche, Kerry Brown, Rosina Buchanan, Mary Buford, Libby Caligari, Riley Campbell, Autumn Candle, Tāwhana Chadwick, Lou Clifton, Kate Collyns, Olivia Cowley, Jess D, Eliana Darroch, Rosie Dent, Katherine Dewar, Zakk d’Larté, Kelly Donaldson, Luna Doole, Alick Draper, Erin Draper, Megan Duncan, Sol Marco Duncan, Ella Edwards, Kim Eland, Miah Elmes, Brodie Fraser, Chase Fox, Ally Gibson, Tomoyo Gibson, Clare Gillard, Neihana Gordon-Stables, Ada Greig, Leo Goldie-Anderson, Kyle Habershon, Will Hansen, Chaz Harris, Beth Hartigan, Gates Henderson, Emilie Hope, Jove Horton, Helen Howell, Simon Hubbard, James Hunt, Craig Hutson, Ciaran Hyslop, Jade, Jojo, Eli Joseph, K, Alana Kane, Brie Keatley, Neo Kenny, Bronwyn Kerr, Elle Kingsbury, Kowhai, Rebecca L, Danny Lam, Tori Levy, Frank Lewis, Izzy Lewis, Eva Liardet, Josh Lowe, Vivian Lyngdoh, Helen Lyttelton, Codee MacDonald, Alex Macale, Piripi Mackie, Braydon Mahoney, Hayden Malan, Nathaniel Manning, Christoph Martens, Jaimee Matthews, Kate McIntyre, Conan McKegg, C Meyer, Toby Morahan, Kiran Morar, Madeleine Moss, Asher Norris, Roisin O’Donovan, Jelly O’Shea, Han Ostini, Andrew Pang, Iscah Pascal, Indy Pendant, Sam Phillips, Phoebe, Dani Pickering, Sammy Pitt, Tasmin Prichard, Hannah Pym, Jorge Quirarte, Ayler Raven-Pearce, Rupert Pirie-Hunter, Sasha Posadas, Hauauru Rae, Aiden Reason, Adam Reynolds, J D Roberts, Geo Robrigado, Hayley Rosvall, Jay Rudolph, Mere-Pounamu Brown-Wi Rutene, Stephanie Sabine, Llaren Sagan, Anisha Sankar, Lucy Schrader, Rebecca Scott, Sassafras Shepheard, Bella Simpson, Simie Simpson, Caitlin Sinclair, Connor Smith, Kristin Smith, Vivian Smith, Faelan Sorenson, Urs Stafford, Annalucia Stasis, Malia Stewart, Kelsi Stroud, Scott Summerfield, Sam Sutherland, Twoflower Tourist, Matt Tuker, Max Tweedie, Mirkyton Ummashtarte, Benjamin van den Eykel, Peter W, Kate Waghorn, Catherine Ward, Natalie Watkin Ward, Chris Weeks, Ahi Wi-Hongi, Aliyah Winter, Kathleen Winter, Hiromi Yagishita, Christian Young, Aatir Zaidi, Zoey.
Contact form responses are no longer being monitored
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.