Transgender Perspectives on Feminism: Online Course

Transgender Perspectives on Feminism: Online Course

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.

Content Warning: this course discusses transgender histories, including forced surgeries, childhood sexual assault, concentration camps, the death penalty, and sexual violence.

Trans Perspectives on Feminism @VUWWC

Trans Perspectives on Feminism @VUWWC

Victoria University of Wellington Women’s Collective is holding a free event for Women’s Week, and has invited GMA to give a 60 minute lecture “Trans Perspectives on Feminism”. Nau mai haere mai, everyone is welcome.

We’ll be starting at 12 noon on Friday May 7, 2021, at Victoria University’s Te Aro campus, 139 Vivian Street Wellington, room VS318 – ask at reception if you can’t find us. The venue is mobility accessible.

Not a “trans allyship 101”, we’ll be starting by setting the record straight on sex and gender, then delving into the histories of social justice issues surrounding transgender women, men of medicine and the social construction of transgender narratives, the far right and trans-exclusionary radical feminism, the transmisogynist double bind, and pragmatic aspirations for intersectional feminism.

Content Warning: this presentation discusses transgender histories, including forced surgeries, childhood sexual assault, concentration camps, the death penalty, and sexual violence.

Our lecture is available here as a free online course, with additional reading links.

You can find the VUWWC event page on Facebook here.

Donate your art!

Donate your art!

GMA raises funds by selling trans-positive merchandise. We use art which we have commissioned from local trans artists and is only available from GMA. We also use art which has been created and donated to us and may be available elsewhere (as the artist own the original image and just gives us a copy, which then belongs to us).

Donating your art to GMA is a really great way to help us raise funds, and also helps to spread trans-positive messages!

An image can then be customized by us and used on many different types of item, like in the example below. The items we sell range from low cost stickers to higher cost clothing and household items. Whether a person buys a $1 sticker, or $800 worth of home ware, we receive a fixed percentage of the money raised, and the rest goes into manufacturing and printing, etc. It’s a really great way for GMA to raise funds without taking a lot of time away from the work we do, as the ordering, manufacturing, and shipping is organised by the sales platform we use.

If you would like to donate your art to GMA, simply write us an email confirming that the image belongs to you and isn’t infringing on anyone else’s copyright, and that you are giving us a copy to own and use as we please. Attach your art image/s to the email, and send it to us at the email address listed here. Done! We will reply to say thanks and let you know we received your art. Thank you in advance!! x GMA team.

Volunteers Needed in Wellington

Volunteers Needed in Wellington

We’re always up to something, and we’d love for you to join us as a volunteer!

We run monthly Raw Sugar sober socials at Newtown Community and Cultural Centre – a mobility accessible community lounge in Newtown. We also run other events throughout the year, or hold fund raising stalls at PRIDE and other community events.

We need folks to help with things like:
Help set up (tidying, set up food, etc).
Greet people as they arrive, bring them in.
Cook/bake/bring some finger food.
Plan a social game or activity.
Facilitate a game (eg. bingo, a word game, etc).
Bring tarot/manicure/another creative setup.
Help pack up (wash dishes, vacuum, tidying).
Something else we haven’t thought of!

We would really appreciate your support – if you have time and want to help out, please fill the form below.

Be an ally 101

Be an ally 101

In our “Be an Ally 101” we discuss how common trans people are, what their lives are like, how to support a trans person you know, how to support trans rights, and where to find out more.

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Some supportive allies ask questions like…

– “How common is being trans in Aotearoa?
– “What are the issues for trans people?
– “How can I support a trans person who I know?
– “How can I be a good ally more generally?

How Common is Being Trans?

Trans people make up at least 1% of the population. The population of NZ is around 4.917 million, so at 1% the number of trans people in NZ is around 50,000. That means at least one trans person for every 100 patients, students, workers, or people in a community.

The Youth12 study (NZ) showed that 1.2% of school students identified as transgender.
The Youth19 study (of 7,721 adolescents) showed 1% identified as trans. 73% of these said they identified as transgender before age 14.
A recent GLAAD (USA) study also showed 1% of people identified as transgender.
The GLAAD study also showed that 16% of non-trans (cis) people knew a trans person in real life.

Issues for trans people

Public Life

Trans people experience extremely high levels of stigma and discrimination across all areas of public life including in education, employment, housing, accessing healthcare, goods and services, justice, sports and recreation, policy and legislative input, and other areas. This results in high levels of material hardship.

Examples include

13% asked inappropriate questions during a health visit in the last year.
1 in 5 are homeless at some point. This figure is 1 in 4 for non-Europeans.
46% of homeless trans people were discriminated against by landlords.
Only 14% participate in sports, vs 26% of the general population.
20% were disrespected or mistreated by a doctor in the last year.
Sex education does not include trans people’s existence.
55% of students are unable to access health care when they need it, vs 19% of cisgender students.
17% have experienced “conversion therapy” in a health setting.
1 in 3 avoid seeing a doctor when they need one, to avoid being disrespected.
23% of trans students are bullied at least weekly, vs 5% of cis students.
The median income is half the median income for the general population.
71% of homeless trans people moved at least once every 6 months on average in the last 5 years.
67% experience discrimination. 44% experienced this in the last year, vs 17% for the general population.

Private life

Trans people experience very high levels of stigma, exclusion, social isolation, and violence in their personal lives.

Examples include

59% of homeless trans people don’t contact their family to help find housing.
Two thirds of trans students “come out” while at school, but of those who do, only a third feel safe to come out to parents.
64% of trans students say at least one parent cares about them “a lot”, vs 94% cis students.
72% of homeless trans people first experienced homelessness as a teenager.
36% of trans people have been forced to have sex against their will – this is 3x the rate of women in the general population (11%). This is more common for non-binary people and adults. For disabled trans people, this figure is 7x the rate of the general population*
82% of homeless trans people say transphobia from housemates was a factor.
Only 32% of trans students feel safe in their neighbourhood vs 58% cis students

* Sexual violence figures are estimated to be severely under-reported for all groups

Mental health and well being

The pervasive stigma, discrimination, and violence which trans populations experience not only impacts on their physical and material well being, but also on their psychological, emotional, and spiritual well being.
Trans people experience high levels of distress, anxiety, depression, self harm, substance use, and suicidal ideation.

Examples include

57% of trans students people report significant depressive symptoms, vs 22% of cis students.
71% live with high levels of psychological distress, vs 8% of the general population.
Trans people use cannabis at 3x the rate of the general population.
26% of trans students attempted suicide in the past year, vs 6% of cis students.
57% of trans students have self harmed in the past year, vs 22% of cis students.
For trans people, substance abuse is linked to mental health and neurodiversity more often than disability or chronic pain.
79% of homeless trans people have a mental health condition, and 66% are neurodiverse.

Resilience and protective factors

Trans people are highly motivated, hard working, and care a lot about community and family. They are very likely to be involved in supporting others, volunteering, and community work. “Chosen family” are the main source of support for many trans people. Family, whānau, and friends are also important.

Examples include

62% agree they are proud to be trans, while only 14% disagree.
Connection to culture is a strong protective factor against suicide.
85% of disabled trans people socialise with other trans people online. Overall 74% of trans people do this..
Feeling connected to trans community is linked to better health outcomes.
Māori are more likely than most trans people to feel connected to their culture, to receive support from whānau after having experienced sexual violence, and to want to have a child or more children.
58% provide a lot of support for other trans people, and 56% feel connected to other trans people.
90% of trans people with housing instability contact friends to help them find housing.
62% of trans students are involved in volunteering, vs 54% of cis students.
Disabled trans people are more likely to be involved in political activism.
Strength of informal networks is a critical protective factor.
Safety is paramount to trans people, including when it comes to housing.
Those who are supported by their family/whānau have better mental health.

How to ally

Supporting a trans person you know

How to give the right support depends on your relationship to the trans person. You can find in depth resources at genderminorities.com

Everyone: don’t “out them” as trans without their permission, don’t ask invasive questions. Do respect their pronouns and name, do listen to them.

Friends: be there for them, listen to them about what they need and how you can support them.

Health teams: provide accurate information, follow the National Guidelines for Gender Affirming Healthcare, use Informed Consent, and let the patient decide what they need.

Landlords: rent to them.

Partners: respect and care for them.

Families: let them know you love and support them no matter what. Fight for them when they need you.

School and work: provide a safe learning/work environment, deal with bullying appropriately.

Supporting the trans rights movement

Supporting trans rights means taking whatever space you have influence in and making it safe for trans people. You can find in depth resources at genderminorities.com [see links below, the main menu, and our blog page].

Amplify trans voices: read/listen to trans people and share their perspectives, link to their content.

At school or work: ask if your school or employer meets the minimum legal requirements for a safe school/work environment.

Political advocacy: being a good ally means walking beside; not over or in front of. Take your lead from trans-led orgs, which are experts on trans issues.

In your community: talk to others about trans rights, share why you think it’s important. Consider trans people in everyday life.

Feminists and women’s rights groups: include trans women in making decisions, and discuss the facts – eg. talk about the trans pay gap, and bodily autonomy for trans people.

Scrap biological essentialism..

Examine your biases.

Talk to friends and family about trans rights.

Stand up against transphobia when you see it.

Remember intent =/= impact.

Find out more

Learn about recognising transphobia, being a supportive family, healthy relationships, and more, at genderminorities.com

Sources for statistics

Gender Minorities Aotearoa (3,000 contacts a year across NZ)

Counting Ourselves (2019).

Youth19 (2021).

Where Do You Sleep at Night? Transgender Experiences of Housing Instability and Homelessness (2020).