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Sunday 10 April 2016


"Without resources, visibilty is meaningless"

Posted in: New Zealand Daily News
By GayNZ.com Daily News staff - 1st April 2016

Yesterday was International Transgender Day of Visibility, however Gender-Minorities Aotearoa say without the resources, visibility is meaningless.

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Image: Ariki Arts
''Without resources such as safe housing, without freedom from violence, and without supportive communities, visibility is meaningless'' says GMA spokesperson, Adeline Greig. ''So often, trans women and other gender minorities are subjected to the public gaze in ways that harm us.’'

The groups youth spokesperson Kiran Foster echoes this sentiment, saying the visibility must go hand in hand with an acceptance of gender minorities as deserving of respect and rights.

"Recently, gender identity was once again rejected from inclusion in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act as a protected group; since then, Family First has released a document encouraging schools not to accommodate the needs of transgender students'' Foster continues. "It is important that people are aware that we exist, because that enables them to make space for us in their world views and communities. But without that space, visibility is incredibly dangerous.”

National Coordinator Ahi Wi-Hongi notes the situation currently unfolding in Australia, with the anti-bullying programme Safe Schools has coming under attack. “We're also seeing a targeted push-back against rising trans visibility in the USA, with 44 anti-trans bills introduced this year alone, 23 of which target transgender children.''

Wi-Hongi says on Wednesday however, “New Zealand's capital city we saw the world's first transgender woman symbol replace the ''green man'' walking symbol on the Cuba st traffic lights.

“This year has also seen both Wellington High School and Onslow College take up the call of transgender students and their supporters and move toward gender-neutral bathrooms. We're seeing progress in the medical sector. We want to see visibility translate into positive actions which improve the lives of transgender and intersex people''

''The takeaway message,'' says Wi-Hongi, ''is that visibility alone is not enough. The people of New Zealand are good, caring, and progressive people. We are world leaders - we led the world on women voting, we elected the worlds first openly transgender Member of Parliament, we are the only country in the world to protect sex workers by decriminalising their occupation,'' Wi-Hongi says.

''Let's continue to be at the forefront of human rights – let's make 2016 the year we carry the torch for transgender and intersex whanau''.

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