Irawhiti is an umbrella word and an individual identity, which refers to all transgender people; including binary,non-binary, and some intersex people.
Takatāpui is an umbrella word and an individual identity, which refers to all rainbow people – including transgender, pansexual, lesbian, queer, gay, bisexual, and some asexual people.
When we speak te reo Māori, we may refer to all transgender people as irawhiti, or all rainbow people as takatāpui. However, usually only Māori people use ‘irawhiti’ or ‘takatāpui’ to name their personal identity.
Note: According to Stats NZ, just under half of all Māori people speak some te reo Māori. Almost 17% of Māori adults speak it fluently.
Māori people come in all shapes, sizes, and skin tones. While some of us are more quickly recognised as Māori, all Rainbow people who whakapapa Māori are equally part of the takatāpui whānau.
Many of us whakapapa Māori, and also whakapapa to other ethnicities and cultures, such as English, Irish, Chinese, and Indian. Having more ancestors from other cultures does not erase our Māori ancestors. We reject caste systems and measuring our blood quantum – we are not ”part Māori” or ”half caste”. We are Māori, and we carry the blood, histories, and wairua of all our ancestors.
To stand in our power as irawhiti takatāpui is to carry the mauri – the life force, and connection to all things. We are not separate or apart from our culture – we are part of our culture, we always have been, and we always will be.
The Office of Ethnic Communities in Auckland wants to reach out to trans and rainbow people, and is holding a hui tomorrow (Thursday 4th Feb 2021). Below is an invitation from them.
Tēnā koe, नमस्ते, Ni Sa Bula Vinaka, こんにちは, 你好, As-Salam-u-Alaikum, Ram Ram. The Office of Ethnic Communities (OEC) invites you to attend our Community Connection Hui for Rainbow and Ethnic Communities.
This is an opportunity for OEC to build our relationship with people in the queer and ethnic community and introduce the work that we do. OEC currently does not have a significant connection with queer ethnic communities, and we want to change that. We will also take this opportunity to introduce the Ethnic Community Development Fund, a 4.2 million dollar fund available for our mandated communities.
Event details are as follows: Community Connection Hui for Rainbow and Ethnic Communities Thursday 4 February 2021 Studio One – Toi Tū, 1 Ponsonby Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland 1011 7:00 pm – 8.30 pm RSVP – Please let us know if you are able to attend by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday 2 February 2021. (they sent it to us today so there’s still time for late RSVP we imagine) Refreshments will be provided.
We hope you are able to attend and we look forward to seeing you there. Please note, RSVP is essential due to number restrictions at the venue. The location is accessible by public transport. Alternatively, street parking may be available in the vicinity, and a few paid parking buildings are located at a few minutes’ walk.
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.