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Saturday 11 April 2015

Lynda Whitehead's Agender agenda

Posted in: Our Communities
By Jacqui Stanford - 30th March 2015

New Agender President Lynda Whitehead is determined to grow the group’s membership back up, telling “many voices make more volume than a few,” as she attempts to make it an effective voice for change in the area of trans rights.

Lynda Whitehead
Tell us a bit about yourself?
My background is in sign advertising and graphic design. I have been self-employed in those fields for over 40 years during which time I built a very successful company in the North Island.

During this time I was involved with a service organisation, sports clubs and also served five years as chair of my sign and design industry association in Northland. However these days I chose the more quiet life and operate my sign and design business from my home base in Kaiapoi.

I am always busy but have time to devote to my duties as President of Agender.

What made you want to take on this role with Agender?
It’s a funny thing really but after our past President resigned, I started to give this notion some serious thought, so when I was approached to consider a more active role, I had absolutely no hesitation in saying yes. In fact I have never felt so sure of anything in my life, such is my passion for and commitment to the Trans movement.

What are the group’s strengths?
Agender has weakened considerably in the past few years and it has struggled to be an effective voice for change. For me it’s all about numbers. Many voices make more volume than a few, therefore I intend to work hard in this area and grow our membership, in this way I feel that we will be taken more seriously by those in positions of power. The support of other groups is also of paramount importance.

What are its biggest challenges?
Our challenges are many. Education is so important, not just at a school level and the young, but also the work place and our legal system which doesn’t recognise Transgender as being anything other than male or female.

We have many Trans folks who, for whatever reason, have transgressed against the system and find themselves incarcerated in a totally unsatisfactory conditions.

Work needs to be done at Government level to makes changes to Human Rights Legislation and to get recognition equal standing for all Trans people in New Zealand.

Many Trans folks have worked and still work hard for our cause but so much work still needs to be done.

How can people get involved?
My policy is an inclusive one. You don’t have to be Transgender to support us in our mission. If you care enough about what we are trying to achieve then all you have to do is contact our secretary ( and she will email you a membership form. Simple.

What issues do you think are most important for Trans NZers right now?
Acceptance. Tolerance and the right to enjoy our lives in peace, equality and harmony with everyone else.

What can and should be done?
I think that I have probably answered this question above. But as I said it’s about educating the masses and gaining equality in all aspects of our lives.

Can the wider community help?
Once again I have also answered this question I think. Yes certainly they can get behind us, I don’t care who or what you are, if you support us and care enough, then join us in our fight. One thing, the final voice must always be Trans, as only a Trans person can speak authentically for other Trans people.

Jacqui Stanford - 30th March 2015

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