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Newsletters > To Be Who I Am > 2011 > February

To Be Who I Am

ISSN 1179-0210 February, 2011

CMDHB logo

The project team from Counties Manukau District Health Board (CMDHB) have just released their draft good practice guide for health professionals working with trans people. Gender Reassignment Health Services for Trans People within New Zealand is now open for public consultation. Continue reading…

The project team are inviting people to give feedback on this draft guide by Monday 21 February. You can email any comments to healthinfo@middlemore.co.nz or fax them to (09) 261 2273.

Read the revised Draft Gender Reassignment Health Services for Trans People within NZ Guide including appendices [PDF] or a Word version without the appendices.

The documents will shortly be on the health page of the Action on the Transgender Inquiry website and on Counties Manukau DHB’s website.

Trans people are invited to join a community video-conference to discuss CMDHB’s draft guide. This will be held in the Human Rights Commission’s Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch offices from 3 – 5pm on Monday 14 February. Continue reading…

Trans people from other parts of the country will be able to phone into the videoconference free of charge. This is a new system so people need to contact Jack Byrne to get instructions about how to join the call. Please RSVP to jackb@hrc.co.nz by  Friday 11 February if you are coming or want to phone in to the discussion.

If possible please try to read the draft guide before you come, particularly the first 32 pages. This meeting is a chance to:

  • talk with the five trans reps on the project’s Reference Group
  • suggest any changes that would make the guide as useful as possible for health professionals and trans people
  • share ideas about ways to encourage health professionals who work with trans people to make submissions on the draft.

Counsellor Mani Mitchell and Psychologist Daniel Eakins have confirmed the details of a Wellington meeting to discuss CMDHB’s draft guide. This meeting is for health professionals working with trans people. The details are: Continue reading…

Date Monday 14 February
Time 6pm
Venue Pacific Ghya Centre, Level 12 Willbank House, 57 Willis Street
RSVP to mani.mitchell@xtra.co.nz including for details about after-hours access to this floor

CMDHB’s draft good practice guide will include a list of health professionals who regularly work with trans people and have agreed for their contact details to be made available to other professional colleagues. This section of the guide is still in development.

Anyone interested in discussing being included can contact CMDHB on healthinfo@middlemore.co.nz.

aft good practice guide will include a list of health professionals who regularly work with trans people and have agreed for their contact details to be made available to other professional colleagues. This section of the guide is still in development.

Anyone interested in discussing being included can contact CMDHB on healthinfo@middlemore.co.nz.

Hui Logo

Come and meet your trans and intersex whānau / family from the Pacific, Australia, Asia and beyond. Local trans and intersex activists are hosting a regional gathering 15 March, the day before the Outgames human rights conference. Continue reading…

Date Tues 15 March 2011
Time 9.30am – 5.30pm
Place St Andrews on the Terrace Hall, 30 The Terrace, Wellington
$$ / cost? FREE
Register Fill out the registration form and email it to: aotearoa_jack@hotmail.com by Monday 28 February
Volunteer to help NOW!

This regional hui/gathering is a chance for trans and intersex activists and those who support them to:

  • share the work they are doing to improve human rights in their own countries
  • learn the terms used to describe gender diversity across this region, in many languages
  • develop a stronger regional network that reflects that diversity
  • identify the challenges trans and intersex communities face, and the support they can give each other
  • build trust, get to know each other and have fun!

There is no registration cost for the hui. However people need to fund their travel to Wellington and accommodation. Download the  Regional Hui poster [PDF 476KB] and Regional Hui information sheet and registration [Word 263 KB]. Please pass them on other trans and intersex people, particularly people who will be in Wellington for the 2nd Asia Pacific Outgames.

After the hui, Wellington organisation Tapatoru are hosting a BBQ from 8-10pm at Thorndon Pool.

Trans and intersex people at the regional hui will have an opportunity to report-back to the  Outgames human rights conference which runs from Wednesday 16 – Friday 18 March. Many of the trans and intersex participants are giving presentations, running workshops or are members of panels during the 3 day conference.

Medical Image

Counties Manukau District Health Board (CMDHB) is just completing its draft resource for health professionals working with trans people. As soon as it is available, the draft resource will be circulated as a special edition of this email newsletter. Your comments will be needed to make this resource as useful as possible for health professionals and the trans people they support.

A video-conference has been set up on Monday 14 February to get community feedback on the draft. Psychologist Daniel Eakins and counsellor Mani Mitchell are also organising a Wellington meeting in February for health professionals to discuss this resource. Continue reading…

Meeting and Video-conference

Health professionals wanting to attend the Wellington meeting can contact Mani Mitchell on mani.mitchell@xtra.co.nz.

Trans people are invited to join a community video-conference to discuss the draft resource. This will be held in the Human Rights Commission’s Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch offices from 3 – 5pm on Monday 14 February. The Commission can also phone in people from Dunedin and up to three more places. Please RSVP to jackb@hrc.co.nz by Friday 11 February if you are coming or want to be phoned in.

This is a chance to:

  • talk with the five trans reps on the project’s Reference Group
  • suggest any changes that would make the guide as useful as possible for health professionals and trans people
  • share ideas about ways to encourage health professionals who work with trans people to make submissions on the draft.

There is more background information about the project on the Inquiry website including:

  • notes from the November Trans Health Hui held at Papatuanuku Kokiri marae in Mangere on Saturday 27 November and attended by over forty people. These have been sent to the CMDHB project team and health professionals on the project’s Reference Group
  • minutes from  the three Reference Group meetings in June, August and October 2010
  • community feedback presented by the five trans reps to the August and October meetings.

Challenging forced sterilisation

Activist Guide

One case study in the Activists’ Guide to the Yogyakarta Principles focuses on the work of Transgender Network Netherlands. They are using the Yogyakarta Principles to challenge the legal requirement that trans people must have undergone sex reassignment surgery in order to change their sex / gender details.  The Netherlands is one of a number of countries where trans people are pushing for similar law changes. Continue reading…

 In Germany, in a decision released on 28 January 2011, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that the requirement to undergo sterilisation or gender-confirming surgery before gaining legal gender recognition is not constitutional. Requiring such surgeries, in order to change one’s sex details, is incompatible with the right to sexual self-determination, physical integrity and privacy. This is likely to have implications across Europe. Many other countries have similar legal requirements and Transgender Europe reports that both the Council of Europe and the Committee of Ministers have indicated these should be reviewed. Read more.

 In New Zealand, a June 2008 Family Court decision found that full gender reassignment surgeries are not always required before someone is able to obtain a Family Court declaration changing their sex details. The Transgender Inquiry recommended that the ‘physical conformation’ test in the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Act 1995 should be amended, to clarify that such surgeries are not essential. The Inquiry proposed an alternative legal threshold whereby a trans woman would need to show she “has taken decisive steps to live fully and permanently” as a woman, and vice versa for a trans man. This recommendation is yet to be implemented.

Sharing international successes

ARC International logo

Do you want to know what is happening internationally to improve human rights for trans people? How are people using the Yogyakarta Principles to make a real difference in their communities? Here are links to online resources explaining how the Yogyakarta Principles are being used successfully around the world. Continue reading…

In December the Activists’ Guide to the Yogyakarta Principles [HTML or PDF ] was launched, alongside a website which tracks how the Yogyakarta Principles are being used internationally.

The Activists’ Guide is a toolkit to increase people’s understanding of the Yogyakarta Principles and the international human rights law on which they are based. It includes successful case studies about the work of trans groups around the world, and profiles the Transgender Inquiry.

In January ARC International launched its E-Bulletin [PDF 2.72MB]. It provides a quarterly update on international developments around gender identity and sexual orientation human rights. This and other cutting-edge human rights information, including videos, can be found on the ARC International website.

ARC co-founder John Fisher will be one of the speakers at a Yogyakarta Principles Forum being organised by the Human Rights Commission on the opening day of the 2nd Asia Pacific Outgames human rights conference.

UN logo

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has spoken out against human rights violations based on gender identity or sexual orientation twice in recent months. This progress has come about in part because of the powerful statements made by trans, intersex, lesbian, gay and bisexual activists on panels held at the United Nations. Watch this moving speech by transpinay activist Sass Rogando Sasot from the Philippines on Human Rights Day 2009.

Continue reading…

In a panel on Human Rights Day (10 December) 2010  Ban Ki-moon said:

"The responsibilities of the United Nations and the obligations of States are clear. No-one, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, should be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. No-one should be prosecuted for their ideas or beliefs. No-one should be punished for exercising their right to freedom of expression."
Read full statement [PDF]

Then on 26 January 2011, in a special sitting of the UN Human Rights Council, Ban Ki-moon gave a strong statement calling for an end to such human rights violations. This is the first time in the history of the United Nations that a Secretary-General has directly addressed an official UN body specifically on these issues.

The Secretary General dedicated substantial attention to the issues in his address, concluding:

“When our fellow humans are persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, we must speak out. That is what I am doing here, that is my consistent position. Human rights are human rights everywhere, for everyone.”

Cover of Human Rights in NZ 2010

The Transgender Inquiry’s final report was released two years ago. What progress has been made since then and what further changes are necessary? These questions are asked in the sexual and gender minorities’ chapter in Human Rights in New Zealand 2010. It concludes that there needs to be a continued focus on legal recognition, the rights to education and health, and explicit protection for trans people under the Human Rights Act. Continue reading…

 On International Human Rights Day (10 December), the Human Rights Commission launched Human Rights in New Zealand 2010. This report card identifies where New Zealand does well, and where it could do better across the full spectrum of human rights. It lists these four recommendations from the Transgender Inquiry as top priorities for improving the human rights of trans people:

  • amending the Human Rights Act to explicitly state that discrimination on the grounds of gender identity is prohibited by the ground of sex
  • amending the physical conformation threshold in section 28 of the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Act 1995
  • sharing best practice so that trans students’ right to education is fully protected
  • building on the Counties Manukau District Health Board project to develop standards of care and treatment pathways for trans people wishing to transition physically.

 The Commission is very grateful for the large number of comments received on a draft version of this chapter. Many were incorporated into the final version.

Other highlighted concerns include:

  • violence against trans people including bullying and harassment in schools
  • the need to raise these human rights issues in all New Zealand country reports to the United Nations.

 In addition, the chapter summarises suggestions raised in two roundtables looking at the human rights of intersex people. It concludes there is a need to:

  • build understanding about the specific human rights issues faced by intersex people
  • use a human rights-based framework to develop best practice for meeting the health needs of intersex people, with a particular focus on infants with intersex medical conditions.

 Read the full Rights of sexual and gender minorities chapter  [PDF) or a summary on pages 81–86  of this Summary Report.

The Commission has selected 30 priority areas from over 100 identified by the research and public consultation process undertaken in preparing Human Rights in New Zealand 2010. Further action in these areas is essential over the next five years.

The priority area for action for sexual and gender minorities is:

  • Legal Equality: Completing the legislative steps required for formal legal equality, including rights to found and form a family regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Kia ora, Welcome!

Kia ora, talofa lava, malo e lelei, fakaalofa lahi atu, nisa bula vinaka, kia orana and welcome to the February 2011 edition of the To Be Who I Am e-newsletter.

Counties Manukau DHB is about to release its draft guidance for health professionals working with trans people. Inside this issue you will find details about a trans community video-conference and a Wellington meeting organised by local health professionals to discuss this draft resource. Plus find out how to register for the Pacific and Asia regional trans and intersex hui being held in Wellington on 15 March, the day before the Outgames human rights conference. Continue reading…

Other articles profile:

  • human rights issues for trans people identified in Human Rights in New Zealand 2010  and
  • new websites and toolkits to keep you informed about exciting international human rights developments for trans people.

 Enjoy!

Outgames conference logo

Register for the Outgames human rights conference before Monday 7 February, to save $25 on the Outgames participation fee. Other important dates are listed below including Friday 18 February, the deadline for applying for a SS4Q youth scholarship to the conference. Continue reading…

Put these dates in your diary:

 Sunday 6 February 

the last day to pay the $89 Outgames participation fee. It then increases to $114

Friday 18 February

applications close for three SS4Q conference scholarships for queer, trans or intersex youth aged 25 or under. These covering the Outgames conference registration costs. Contact jalison@ppta.org.nz for more details

Monday 28 February

registrations close for the Outgames human rights conference and for the Pacific and Asia trans and intersex hui

Tuesday 15 March

Pacific and Asia trans and intersex hui, Wellington

Wednesday 16  - Friday 18 March

2nd Asia Pacific Outgames human rights conference, Wellington

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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