Raw Sugar Social Events: 2021

Raw Sugar Social Events: 2021

Nau mai haere mai, Raw Sugar free monthly transgender sober social events are back for 2021!

Note: under Covid-19 alert level 2, 3, and 4 all our face-to-face events are cancelled.
If we are in alert level 1, Raw Sugar will operate as usual.

Who & what

Join us for social chats, games, cups of tea, and potluck snacks with lovely people! All transgender and intersex people welcome. Bring yourself, whānau, friends, and finger food kai to share if you want to.

2pm to 4pm: snacks and chats and games (including things like Connect 4, Articulate!, Jackbox TV games, and Unstable Unicorns). The first 2 hours is suitable for folks of any age.

4pm to 6pm: film screening (sometimes rated R16 or R18). This part of the event is more suitable for people aged 16 or over.

When & where

Raw Sugar Wellington is held on the second weekend each month, from 2 till 6pm (usually on the Saturday). We have moved Raw Sugar from our drop in centre at 130 Riddiford street Newtown, into the new venue of the Newtown Community and Cultural Centre – which is now directly across the street upstarirs in the old ANZ building at 2A Green street (down the side street, and on the right).


The venue is fully mobility accessible, with an elevator to the top floor. There are all-genders accessible toilets. We’re aiming for a low allergen space, so no sprays or air-freshers, and please don’t wear perfume or cologne. Disability assist animals are welcome, however due to allergies and phobias please do not bring any other animals. Sometimes we have around 40 people attending, and there is a quieter room available to hang out if it’s a bit noisy.

Dates & times


End of the year

We will be running a rainbow community event at Vinegar Hill in December, on a day TBC between December 27th and December 31st. Check out the Vinegar Hill Gay Camp website for more info.

Camping for Beginners: Sport and Recreation Series

Camping for Beginners: Sport and Recreation Series

Our new resource Camping for Beginners is the first in our new Sport and Recreation series. Camping can be fun and a great way to relax. Check out our tips for beginners here; be prepared, be safe, and have a great time.

Scroll down to keep reading, or use our PDF version.

PDF – read online or download

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Picking the right place to camp means thinking about location, how full a campground is likely to be on the day you arrive, the weather at that time of the year and what your gear can stand up to, and what your safety and accessibility needs are.

Think about proximity to bathrooms, cellphone coverage, drinking water.

Do you need a permit to camp there? Can you light a fire? You can find information from Department of Conservation, district councils, motor home associations, and social media groups for camping in Aotearoa.

Practice at Home

Practice setting up your tent at home or in a park nearby. Make sure you have all the pieces, it’s waterproof (including the groundsheet or floor), and everything works. If you’re bringing a cooker or other essential equipment – old or new – practice and test before you need it.

Pitching a Tent

Pitch your tent (or park) on level ground. Think about trees in the wind and falling branches or pine cones. If there could be a sudden downpour, will you be flooded out? In flooding, high winds, or other emergencies, how quickly can you pack up and leave?

Just Trans Stuff

For some of us, things like shaving, using bathrooms, and taking a shower can be extra difficult we’re sharing facilities with strangers. It may be an option to take a shower-tent and solar shower into your site, set up a table with a shaving mirror, and use ropes and flags as privacy screens. Having a bathroom area away from your social area and out of view from other campers can make camping a lot less stressful.

Plan to Eat

Cooking on a campfire requires dry wood, and using a camp cooker means taking a cooker and fuel with you. You’ll need a pot or pan, dishes, cutlery, and food that can be prepared easily with whatever equipment you have.

If you’re on foot, consider the weight of your food. If you can park a car near your campsite, then pre-prepared foods such as canned soup may be an option. Consider snacks, hot and cold drinks. Remember that some foods perish quickly without a chilly bin or ice box. Keep an eye on expiry dates. Ziplock bags keep chilled foods from contaminating each other.

Be Responsible

If you’re camping near others, try to give them some space, and keep the noise down at night. Remember to respect Papatūānuku as well – take only photos and leave only footprints. If you have animal companions with you, this applies to them as well.

Commonly Forgotten Items

Commonly forgotten items include insect repellent, sunscreen, a water bottle, a first aid kit, toiletries, a mirror, and lighting – a mix of solar and battery powered lights should see you through. You may like to take a comfortable chair, and eat at a folding table. Games, books, puzzles, and activities can also be a good idea.

Camping Checklist

Personal items

Comfy clothes, swimwear, dress ups.
Safer sex supplies if needed.
Bed roll/ airbed/ mattress/stretcher.
Blankets, sheets/sleeping bag.
Ear plugs.
Torch + battery, or cellphone + car charger.
Vape charger.
Power Bank/spare battery.
Hormones or medications.
Cupboard/food crate.
Chilly bin.
Personal kitchenware – plate/bowl/utensils.


Water or large water container.
Bug spray.
Sunscreen SPF 50+.
First aid kit.
Gas bottles for cooking.
Ice X 1 million.
Kitchen wipes.
Toiletries eg soap, sanitary products, wet wipes, extra T-paper.

Kitchen and Living

Kitchen /lounge gazebo.
Kitchen bench.
Kitchen table.
Solar candles/ lighting/safe fire torches.
Clock (no cellphone reception).
Flags/privacy screen fabric.
Falas/floor mats.
Gas bottles or cans.
Dishwashing tub, dishwash liquid, Scrubber, Buckets, Tea towels (or wetwipes).
Pots and pans.
Chopping boards and sharp knives.
Mixing/salad bowls.
Coffee plunger.
Can opener.
Music speakers.
Beanbags or camp chairs.
Solar shower.

Foods that Last

Breakfast foods – cereal, small cartons of long-life or plant-based milks, milk powder, porridge, oatmeal, muesli, firm fruits, canned spagetti and baked beans.

Lunch foods – many types of crackers, small cans of fish, canned pre-cooked chicken or red meat, pre-packed tortillas, margarine and spreads, whole (rather than loose leaf) salad greens, cabbage, carrots, preserved meats such as salami, fresh eggs last over a month.

Dinner foods – dried pasta, rice, corn chips, fresh or dried-flake potatoes, dried peas, bottled or canned pasta sauce, dried mushrooms, herbs and spices, salt, cooking oil, pouches of sauce, soup grain mix, pre-made meals in cans or pouches (eg, pouches of curry or fried rice, canned soups).

Snacks – dried seaweed snacks, potato chips, muesli bars, small cartons of milk or plant-milk based protein drinks, dried fruit and nuts, pretzels, biscuits, confectionery.

Drinks – coffee, tea, herb tea, hot chocolate, powdered juice (eg. Raro), syrups and concentrates, drinking water and bottle.

Vinegar Hill Gay Camp

Many transgender and rainbow folks camp at Vinegar Hill near Hunterville every December over the summer holidays. Vinegar Hill Gay Camp is not a commercial event, it’s just a gathering of rainbow folks. Besides camp fees and a $10 contribution towards community events and stage hire for the New Years eve party, it’s free to attend. Find out more here.

Supporting transgender people: online course

Supporting transgender people: online course

Gender Minorities Aotearoa is offering a free online course, Supporting Transgender People. This course is designed to increase your knowledge of issues affecting transgender people in Aotearoa, and to build your confidence in speaking about these issues and supporting transgender people. It is a 101 course and suitable for people with any level of knowledge on transgender issues.

The course takes 2 to 3 hours to complete, and is broken into 3 sessions. You can stop at any time and continue later by logging in again. There are links to further reading at the end of some sections – these are optional and are not included in the time allocation.

This course is suitable for families, friends, supporters, and professional development. A certificate of completion is issued at the end of the course.

What each chapter covers

By the end of chapter 1. you will be able to:

    1. Differentiate between gender, sex characteristics, and sex assigned at birth.
    2. Explain the meaning of words like transgender, cisgender, and non-binary.
    3. Talk about the difference between intersex and transgender.

By the end of chapter 2. you will be able to:

    1. Understand how stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination interact.
    2. Distinguish between discrimination in public life and private life.
    3. Recognise the impact of discrimination across multiple areas of life.
    4. Recognise physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and social impacts of discrimination.

By the end of chapter 3. you will be able to:

    1. Name protective factors which assist trans peoples well-being.
    2. Identify ways to support trans people in your personal life.
    3. Identify ways to support trans people in their public life.
    4. Find more information.

Content warning: this course discusses stigma, discrimination, and violence experienced by transgender and intersex people. Some content may be distressing.

The Tindall Foundation

This course was made with support from The Tindall Foundation

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.

This post is available in article, video, and booklet format. See the link in the footer for sharing permissions.

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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).