Gender Minorities Aotearoa is offering a free online course, designed to increase your knowledge of historic and contemporary issues regarding feminism and transgender people, and to improve your transgender inclusive intersectional feminist praxis. It is designed for people who are relatively fluent in feminism, and already have a 101 understanding of transgender issues.
It was developed through an intersectional feminist lens, by a transgender team that included transfeminine, transmasculine, non-binary, indigenous Māori, neurodiverse, disabled, and working class representation.
This course takes around 60 minutes to complete, and is broken into 5 sessions. You can stop at any time and continue later by logging in again. Some chapters have additional reading materials linked – these are not included in the time allocation.
By the end of chapter 1. you will be able to:
1. Differentiate between gender, sex characteristics, and sex assigned at birth.
2. Talk about impact of colonisation on understandings of sex and gender.
By the end of chapter 2. you will be able to:
1. Understand the impact of eurocentric heteropatriarchal sexology on transgender narratives.
2. Understand the history of enforced heteronormative sexuality in trans healthcare.
3. Recognise the sexualisation of transgender women through medicalisation and pathologisation.
4. Recognise the abusive nature of enforcing an arbitrary gender without an infants consent.
By the end of chapter 3. you will be able to:
1. Recognise the repression of transgender people in Nazi Germany.
2. Recognise similarities between historic fascism and contemporary repressive regimes.
3. Identify psudo-feminist and fundamentalist religious right alliances.
4. Understand the history of Radical Feminism and inclusivity in relation to transgender women.
5. Talk about why the term “Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism” or “TERF” was developed.
6. Identify impacts of TERF campaigns on public policy.
7. Discuss various online and offline tactics of TERF campaigners, and the impacts of these.
8. Identify reasoning behind the framing of anti-trans propaganda as “transgender debate”.
By the end of chapter 4. you will be able to:
1. Recognise key components of transmisogyny.
2. Talk about the transmisogynist double bind.
3. Identify the stereotypes behind transmisogynist prejudice.
4. Discuss why theories of “male socialisation” are inaccurate.
By the end of chapter 5. you will be able to:
1. Identify examples of transgender intersectional feminist praxis.
2. Recognise the exclusion of transgender narratives from contemporary feminist discourses.
3. Identify a Black lesbian feminist separatist position on biological essentialism.
4. Discuss key strategies for an intersectional feminist praxis of transgender inclusivity.
5. Identify areas of transgender marginalisation to address in gendered oppression discourse.
6. Identify key concepts in creating trans-inclusive gendered spaces.
7. Discuss core concepts in building safer spaces or diversity and inclusion policies.
Any one of these parts on their own can be transphobia.
Stereotypes are widely held ideas about a certain group of people, which are oversimplified generalisations.
Prejudices are unjustified preconceived opinions, attitudes, thoughts, and feelings about a person, which often come from believing in stereotypes about the group they belong to.
Prejudice function in 3 main ways:
– Maintaining an exploitation/domination relationship (keeping people down). – Enforcing social norms (keeping people in). – ‘Disease avoidance’ (keeping people away).
Discrimination is the actions (including failure to act) based on prejudice.
This can include interpersonal discrimination in one’s private life, e.g. social exclusion, bullying and harassment, physical and sexual violence.
It can also include discrimination in public areas of life, e.g. exclusion from human rights protections, exclusion from other legal rights, exclusion from or discrimination in housing, healthcare, the justice system, accessing goods and services, recreation and sport, education, employment, etc.
Examples include: requiring medical interventions in order to gain an accurate birth certificate, landlords refusing to rent to trans tenants, inadequate access to appropriate healthcare services, schools or employers not taking action to keep students or employees safe.
67% of trans people report experiencing high levels of discrimination in NZ, 44% experienced this in the past 12 months (vs 17% of the general population).
Cognitive; thoughts about people.
Overgeneralised beliefs about people may lead to prejudice.
”Being trans is a sexual fetish”, ”They are dangerous”.
Affective; feelings about people, both positive and negative.
Feelings may influence treatment of others, leading to discrimination.
”I am genuinely afraid of sexual violence from trans women”.
Behavior; positive or negative treatment of others.
Holding stereotypes and harboring prejudice may lead to excluding, avoiding, and biased treatment of group members.
”I want to stop trans women from using women’s bathrooms” ”Trans people should be sterilized to change their birth certificate”.
It is very common for trans people to be stereotyped in a variety of ways, and to experience stigma and discrimination across all areas of life. The impact of widespread transphobia is the key factor in the disparities faced by transgender people.
These disparities include: being bullied in school (21% vs 5% general population), being forced to have sex against their will (32%, vs 11% of women in the general population*), poverty (trans people’s median income is half the median income of the general population), going without fresh fruit and vegetables (51%) and putting up with feeling cold (64%) – 3 times the rate of the general population, being asked invasive questions during a medical visit (13% in the last year), reparative [conversion] therapy (17%), avoiding healthcare visits to avoid being disrespected (36%), high levels of psychological distress (71%, vs 8% general population), suicidal ideation (56% in the last year), suicide attempts (37%).
The anti-trans campaign group ‘Speak up for Women’ is holding an event at Massey University, which promotes and advocates for the removal of human rights and legal protections from trans people. Trans people are a severely stigmatised, disadvantaged, and discriminated against population, that experiences some of the highest rates of violence including sexual violence in Aotearoa NZ. This is unacceptable.
Massey University is Rainbow Tick certified. This achievement confirms our commitment to the Rainbow community, and to provide a safe and inclusive environment for its members.
All staff and students need to feel comfortable being their whole-self, and to work and study without fear of harassment or discrimination. We’re committed to equal opportunities for all, regardless of your:
ethnic or national origin
employment or family status
Hosting a known anti-trans extremist group is in direct opposition to this commitment.
The activism of Speak up for Women is entirely based on removal of human rights for trans people, who suffer from extremely high rates of stigma, sexual violence, and discrimination across housing, healthcare, education, employment, access to goods and services, and all other areas of public life. This stigma, discrimination, and harassment results in minority stress and suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and deaths, at greatly elevated levels compared with the general population [Counting Ourselves, 2019].
Massey University must take action to prevent harm toward trans students, staff members, and members of society.
This week the High Court backed the Auckland Council’s decision to cancel a booking for far-right speakers Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux, with Auckland Mayor Phil Goff saying that the right to free speech did not include the right to a platform, and that “These individuals who want to incite hatred against others are, in my view, not welcome here.”
Rainbow Tick Acting President Martin King said Massey University’s Rainbow Tick status would likely be reviewed if it allowed the anti-trans conference to go ahead.
Massey Wellington Students Association is calling for the event to be cancelled. It has penned a petition, saying ”By providing a platform for a hate group to speak on our campus, Massey University is putting ‘freedom of speech’ over the safety of its staff and students. This petition has gained over 1,300 signatures in just 5 hours. You can sign the petition here.
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.
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’.