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Thursday 10 November 2016

Glbti lives: Allyson Hamblett

Posted in: Community
By - 13th January 2016

Transgender rights advocate Allyson Hamblett is the next in line for our summer series profiling our great LGBTI community leaders and change-makers around the country.

In 1998, Allyson wondered if she could cope with having cerebral palsy and coming out as a trans woman. Now almost 20 years later, she is a tireless trans rights advocate and lively LGBTI community member.

Allyson first became involved with The Pride Centre in about 1995, and worked towards setting up a group for trans people after realising there was very little support for trans people and seeking a way to meet others like her. It was from there that TransIT started in 1997/8 and eventually became Genderbridge.

Recognising the LGBTI community is still facing many barriers to acceptance, Allyson says it is the Human Rights Act that needs to urgently be addressed. “The Human Rights Act needs to include gender identity: to make sure that all trans people are protected from discrimination,” she says.

“While I get frustrated that this still has not happened, I am confident that the community will find a way towards the final push needed to make this happen. It’s on the political radar, with Greens and Labour supporting this amendment.

We still have a way to go and Allyson would like to see a future where trans people have full human rights and trans women are not incarcerated in male prisons. “This practice makes a mockery of our existence and has to stop,” she says

“It’s a disgrace that trans women are incarcerated in male prisons. It makes a mockery of our lives. We are encouraged to be who we are in wider society, but corrections drags us back to our biological beginnings. It has to stop, and policy needs to be fully implemented to insure that gender identity is recognised behind bars as well as in mainstream society.”

While recognising the ground that still needs to be cover, she says the LGBTI community achievement that she is most proud of is in 2009 when a supplementary order paper passed, allowing overseas born trans people, who are citizens or permanent residents to apply for a Declaration As To Sex in the NZ Family Court under section 28 of the Births Deaths Marriages and Relationships Amendment Act (1995).
Allyson says as a trans woman, living with cerebral palsy, the disability community is her biggest ally and she recently organised a CEDAW workshop for trans women in New Zealand.

“CEDAW is the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. The idea for the workshop came about when I attended a CEDAW workshop for disabled women. I really like the cross political work that’s taking place between LBGTI and Disability community,” she says.

“The CEDAW workshop allowed the voices of trans women to be heard.”

A tireless advocate for LGBTI rights, there is no slowing down for Allyson, alongside working towards the inclusion of gender of identity in the Human Rights Act, she would like to see the Citizenship Act 1977 amended to make sure that trans people who update their citizenship certificates have legal citizenship certificates, to write a legal guide for trans people and to “make sure the disability sector understands that disabled people can also be part of the LGBTI communities.” Of course if she can squeeze a holiday in the midst of this there would be no complaints.

Her final words as we head into the future feeling inspired and ready to take on the challenges before us: “To make a difference for people; to make their lives easier. One cannot achieve social change alone.”

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- 13th January 2016