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.
Department of Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin has established a working group to advise on improving the process fro updating the gender marker on one’s birth certificate under the current legislation.
”The group will include representatives of the transgender and intersex community as well as medical and legal experts with experience in transgender issues. Kate Scarlet, a lawyer with substantial expertise in the process for changing registered sex, will chair the group. Other members are Jack Byrne, Mani Mitchell, Georgina Beyer, Jeannie Oliphant, Fleur Fitzsimons and Ahi Wi-Hongi.
“They will meet from August to December 2019 and produce recommendations to me early next year,” the Minister says.
We are not able to go into any specifics regarding the working group, so all inquiries must be sent to the Minister’s office. You can read the the press release from Department of Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin by clicking here.
DIA also announced a waiver on fees for updating the gender marker on birth certificates.
Show your support for trans and intersex people with our beautiful ”We Belong” transgender flag bunting!
The design includes the transgender flag colours, with yellow stars for intersex. The starts are in the pattern of the Southern Cross constellation, otherwise known as Te Pae Mahutonga. Te pae mahutonga is also a Kaupapa Maori public health framework, based on the constellation, which guides our organisation. You can read about it here. It also carries the transgender symbol, with the words ‘We Belong’.