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Newsletters > To Be Who I Am > 2010 > October

To Be Who I Am

ISSN 1179-0210 October, 2010

NZ Trans mental health resource



“I get annoyed when people say I’m coping or I’m struggling with depression. I just say I have depression – shit happens…” Continue reading…

A wonderful digital story of a trans guy was released at the end of September, as part of a collection of "Rainbow Touchstones". Joe is one of six people interviewed for this series of online video stories looking at mental health experiences from within LGBT communities in Aotearoa/NZ.

Joe's words and images are inspiring.

"I think a lot of people are quite prone to offering advice but I think deep down most people know what they need to be happy. It takes a pretty strong person to actually do it but it's worth it - it's about being true to yourself.

Sometimes I wakeup and say "god, being true to myself really sucks today". Y'know - being queer and trans - sometimes it's quite hard just being me. But I just want the person in the mirror to be a decent reflection of the person I am on the inside.

Definitely I have off days and I can't be bothered and I just wish I was normal. But my good days - which are most days - are really good and I'm a lot happier and confident in being who I am."

In a separate interview, Joe talks about the South Island trans youth group Forge and his own transition. His advice to others is "Just be who you are, stick with the people who care about you, and give people time". You can download transcripts of both interviews from the PrideNZ.com website.

NZ Mental Health Media Grant recipient, Gareth Watkins, helped facilitate six community members to tell their own stories. "We interweave personal narrative, images and creative writing to form a unique five-minute video that reflects a person's individual journey...I am so appreciative of the honesty and frankness of the participants. To share such personal journeys shows a strength and generosity of spirit that is very humbling."

The six stories can be shared online and are also available from Gareth (gareth@gwcreative.co.nz) as a DVD resource.

People with experience of mental illness are protected from unlawful discrimination under the ground of disability in the Human Rights Act. This month the Commission launched Making Complaints - A Guide for Mental Health Service Users.

Papatuanuku Marae

Papatuanuku Marae

Nau mai, piki mai, kake mai, haere mai ki tēnei hui nui whakaharahara. Mauria mai ō kōrero, ō whakaaro hoki. He wā anō hei maumahara i a rātou kua para i te huarahi, kua huri ki tua o te arai ki Paerau. Mauriora!

What information do GPs, counsellors and other health professionals need to: Continue reading…

  • understand what it means to be whakawahine, tangata ira tane, fa'afafine, akava'ine, fakaleiti or trans
  • support someone who wants counselling, hormones and/or surgery etc as part of their transition
  • help improve the health and wellbeing of our trans communities?

The Human Rights Commission and the five trans reps have organised this Auckland hui to hear about the experiences of Māori and Pacific people who try to get medical support to transition. We need your ideas and stories to help Counties Manukau DHB (CMDHB) develop a national resource for GPs, counsellors and other health professionals that will make a difference for you and your communities.

  • Date:      Saturday November 27
  • Time:     1 - 5pm (NB: be waiting outside to go on by 12.45pm)·
  • Venue:   Papatuanuku Marae 141 Robertson Rd, Mangere, Auckland

The Human Rights Commission's Kaiwhakarite Paula and Hemi Pirihi will take us all on to the marae. The Chief Human Rights Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan will join us for a simple ceremony at the start of the hui to commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Transgender Day of Remembrance is held in hundreds of places around the world so we do not forget trans people who have been killed due to hatred or violence. In Aotearoa / NZ, this day has also been a time to remember how discrimination and prejudice affect our wellbeing and health. Too many from our communities have died young. It is also a time to celebrate those who have paved the way for our communities today. Please bring along photos of people you wish to remember.

This simple ceremony will be followed by afternoon tea. Some people may need to leave then. However, everyone is very welcome to stay for the rest of the hui.

RSVP: If you would like to attend either or both events please contact Julie on 09 3062651 or email juliew@hrc.co.nz for catering purposes.

Update on the Trans Health project

Shannon Anahera White is the new whakawahine rep on the Reference Group for the national Gender Reassignment Health Services for Trans people project. Continue reading…

Shannon describes herself as "an M2F transsexual, working with our Kaumatua Kuia/Elderly. I am honoured and privileged to be on board working for the wellbeing and safety of our transsexual community." Shannon is playing a leading role in helping to organise the Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland trans health hui on 27 November.

In the July 2010 issue of the To Be Who I Am e-newsletter the Commission introduced the two trans women and two trans men selected to be on the Reference Group for this national project being led by CMDHB. At the August Reference Group meeting the CMDHB project team agreed to add a fifth trans rep to represent whakawāhine. Mani Bruce Mitchell has also been added as the representative of the NZ Association of Counsellors.

The full five trans reps on the Reference Group are now:

  • Shannon White, Auckland
  • Amie Clisby, Wellington
  • Cathy Parker, Auckland
  • Joey MacDonald, Dunedin
  • Max Lawson, Auckland.

The five reps have been collecting comments from the wider community on their Facebook page, by email, at community video-conferences and by talking with people. Read the comments they presented to the August meeting (PDF), and then updated for the October meeting (PDF).

The next community video-conference will be a chance to discuss the draft "tool-kit' or guidance the project is preparing for GPs, counsellors and other health professionals. We don't know yet when this will be publically available for people to make comments. As soon as that date is confirmed it will be put on the trans reps' Facebook page, the health page of the Transgender Inquiry website and on the Healthpoint page for this project.

This important research is identifying the mental health promotion and prevention services that trans, queer and intersex people in New Zealand need. They want to hear from you! Continue reading…

Research findings will help develop polices and services to promote mental health and wellbeing for our communities.

If you want to make sure trans voices are heard go to www.shore.ac.nz/glbti.html.

For more information please contact; Jeff Adams on j.b.adams@massey.ac.nz or (09) 366 6136.

Outgames human rights conference


Many thanks to all of you who put in Expressions of Interest (EOIs) offering a workshop, panel presentation or paper for the 2nd AsiaPacific Games Human Rights Conference. The organisers have been overwhelmed by the response from trans communities and individuals from afar and within New Zealand. They are aiming to contact everyone who put in an EOI before the end of October. Continue reading…

The end of October is also the deadline for cheaper ($59) early-bird registrations for the Outgames. Anyone going to the human rights conference needs to pay this registration fee. It helps fund things that everyone attends, like the opening and closing ceremonies. Read more details on the OutGames website. The deadline for the cheaper conference registrations is the end of November.

We know that it will be an expensive time for those who want to attend but it will be amazing if there is a big and vibrant trans presence for all three days (16 - 18 March), well four if you count the hui.

On Tuesday 15 March, the day before the conference opens, a group of trans activists are planning to organise a one day hui. It is a chance to welcome an amazing group of trans people from Asia, the Pacific, Australia, Latin America, Europe and the USA who are working hard to get funding to come to the hui. Together we will be taking a historic step towards building an Asia Pacific trans human rights movement.

Your community needs you!

Volunteers are really needed to help organise the one day hui. This needs to be an event that is created by trans people for each other. There is no central organising group or budget! But we promise you will be fed!

The HRC is offering it's Wellington office boardroom as a back up venue if we don't find a larger community space. The Commission's Kaiwhakarite will help us welcome visitors from overseas and across Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Every small task will help make the hui and three day conference unforgettable. The one thing you volunteer to do might make the difference between someone else being able to attend or not.

Can you help by:

  • fundraising in your area to help people get to Wellington
  • offering someone else a lift to Wellington
  • offering to billet trans people coming from outside Wellington
  • being the person who collects the names of people coming to the hui
  • being a contact person for people offering to billet trans people in Wellington?

A group of people in Auckland are thinking of meeting to brainstorm fundraising opportunities. Perhaps there are groups in other areas who could do the same?

If you would like to be a volunteer to help with the trans hui on Tuesday 15 March please contact Jack on aotearoa_jack@hotmail.com.

Kia ora, welcome!

Kia ora, talofa lava, malo e lelei, fakaalofa lahi atu, nisa bula vinaka, kia orana and welcome to the October 2010 edition of the To Be Who I Am e-newsletter. Continue reading…

In this update, there's information about Tāmaki Makaurau Trans Health Hui on the  27 November which is being run in conjunction with the Transgender Day of Remembrance. It's open to anyone who wants to come, but unfortunately there is no funding to pay travel costs.

There's more about the Outgames and do remember last days for early bird registration. We also write to remind you that everyone's input will be needed on the NATIONAL resource that is coming out of the CMDHB project, an email will be sent to everyone on the newsletter database telling them when the draft resource is out for public comment. The best ways to keep updated about the project are to look on the trans reps' Facebook page and the health page of the HRC website (for live links read the article).

And finally, a wonderful digital story of a trans guy. Joe is one of six people interviewed for a series of online video stories looking at mental health experiences from within LGBT communities in Aotearoa/NZ.


You are currently reading articles from To Be Who I Am , This was a quarterly newsletter for trans people and others interested in progressing the Transgender Inquiry’s actions and recommendations,. It is not longer published but you can still add your name to be included on a contact list for those interested in trans issues. by the Human Rights Commission.

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