This week news filtered through that 21 year-old Zena Campbell, the young person murdered in Te Aro in February, was a member of the transgender community. Her community is in mourning. We have lit transgender candles in the church. Sadly, New Zealand will now be on the list of countries we name when we commemorate the Transgender Day of Remembrance in November. A vigil for Zena will be held in Civic Square at 6pm, Tuesday 20 March.
It is more than unsettling to find fatal violence happens to people just like you. This confirms for me the need for people NOT involved in the pain and emotion of transition to stand up and support those who are. While the position of gay and lesbian New Zealanders is not perfect, recently there have been ground breaking legislative changes to assist them. In contrast the trans community still suffers major discrimination and is offered inadequate health care.
For example, ten years ago, a Human Rights Commission report https://www.hrc.co.nz/your-rights/social-equality/our-work/inquiry-discrimination-experienced-transgender-people/ urged Government put effort into changing opportunities for identifying gender on official documents. Yet this year the census went online offering only a binary option of male/female. Those wishing to register differently had to follow a different process, ordering paper forms where a more nuanced answer can be given. If they wish to protest by not filling in census forms, they risk criminal conviction. This is the fifth census since the Human Rights Act (1993) outlawed discrimination due to sexual orientation.
In another example, the waiting list for transition surgery is decades-long. Meantime, those waiting for surgery live in a twilight zone many others would not tolerate.
Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) falls on Easter Saturday this year. This day could be seen as the day when trans people make themselves more visible. How about we make it a day when those who SUPPORT trans people make themselves more visible?
A sausage sizzle is planned by Rainbow Wellington for outside Bunnings, Tory St, on March 31, Easter Saturday. If you are in town that day how about driving by and joining the crowd there for a while? Donate more than the price of the food for fundraising for the community. Let them know that some cis people (those born without confusion as to their gender identity) are standing with them. We will let you know more precise details of the timing before then.
On Sunday we consider the grain of wheat falling into the ground so greater results can happen. I hope to see you there!
To view the full e-news click on this link: http://mailchi.mp/7af9303afc53/this-weeks-newsletter-from-st-andrews-on-the-terrace-1376073