My Kaha Queer Youth Hui ’09!

Kaha Queer Youth Hui 2009

Kaha Queer Youth Hui 2009

This amazing conference was at Tapu Te Ranga Marae in Island Bay.

We were welcomed onto the marae in the traditional way, with a powhiri, waiata and hongi. Bruce Stewart introduced the place and its fairly unique history. Check out the website for his story, it’s fascinating. I haven’t felt such a spiritual connection to a place since living in Hanson St at the activist house. This was much stronger because of its history. It seems when people dedicate their lives to others their home builds up its own spirit that I can feel around me.

Youth work training – Some great ideas for getting people to come to grips with a potentially boring document: the Code of Ethics for Youth Work in Aotearoa New Zealand. We played memory games, talked about issues, did things with cards and rearranged sections. I’m making a submission, my other hobby.

Workshops – I’ve never done so many workshops in a row. Pretty sure this was the draining part of the weekend. I learned a lot from other people’s experiences and opinions. Sometimes I feel like Brooklynne and I are the only queer people we know – so valuable to get new outlooks, especially trans ones.

Concert – One minute I was asking the lady who taught us the waiata for its chords and the next I was second guitarist in Tiwhanawhana, accompanying about 30 singers and dancers. I joined their group!

Friends – Yay for new friends! I never got to go to things like this as an actual yoof of teen age so it was great to go and make lotsa new friends while I’m still vaguely young.

We voted at the end – to coincide with the Asia Pacific OutGames, Kaha Hui 2011 is going international!

New Zealand Transgender Inquiry update: 5 areas for immediate action

New Zealand Transgender Inquiry Report Cover.

New Zealand Transgender Inquiry Report.

Recently I attended the latest meeting for the Transgender Inquiry, run by the Human Rights Commission.  I’ve attended several other fairly highly-charged meetings where emotions ran hot. Transgender people and allies rarely have a forum like this to air our grievances and it shows. (We do air good things too, but there are usually more grievances than good things.)

Forums where transgender issues are discussed by transgender people can bring out some prejudices too. Like a relative of mine who married a European immigrant but never ceased to rail against Asian immigrants, we can’t always see when we are attacking ourselves by trying to raise standards.  Some trans people strongly believe boundary-pushers like Thomas Beatie are making us all look like freaks. (I personally will always support trailblazers like this.)

The Action list in the back of the report is a few pages long. It’s been split into 5 areas for immediate action, which I will repeat here so it has a permanent home:

  • increasing participation of trans people in decisions that affect them
  • strengthening the legal protections making discrimination against trans people unlawful
  • improving access to health services, including gender reassignment services
  • simplifying requirements for change of sex details on a birth certificate, passport and other documents
  • giving urgent attention to the significant human rights issues experienced by intersex people

My submission was a description of my involvement with various medical and government organisations and the effect of this on my health and wellbeing. I had a rant, but a focused one. And yes, I read through the Inquiry Report looking for my quotes as well as reading it. 🙂

I was fairly sceptical when this process started, not being a big fan of government organisations. But I’m pleased with the work the Human Rights Commission have done and hope to have more time to contribute in the new year.

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