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Friday, 23 June 2017 03:14 am

Missing voices in the health system focus of transgender tea time

Saint Andrews Church on The Terrace is an LGBTI friendly church in Wellington city.

Trans people are missing in the health system and a group of about 50 Wellingtonians used last Friday’s Trans Day of Visibility to demand action.

The visibility day talk was hosted by trans activist Jem Traylor at Saint Andrews.

A Waiata, four speakers, tea, coffee and blue and pink trans-flag coloured chocolate cake were part of the event.

Trans activist and event organizer Jem Traylor

Jem Traylor says while transgendered rights and visibility are gaining momentum, there is still work to be done, particularly in health.

“Even this celebration, the Trans Day of Visibility is still very new to Aotearoa and the Carmen traffic lights a year ago was really the first real acknowledgement of it,” she says

“We need more visibility because we’ve got a lot of issues that need sorting out, we need a lot more support the health system and we’re just not on anybody’s radar.”

Traylor says while employment and housing are important issues, health was her number one concern.

“It’s sorting out just trans people getting a fair deal in the health system and ending the discrimination,” she says.

“We don’t have much of a NGO lobby group, we can just be forgotten.”

Wellington Central MP and Rainbow Wellington patron, Grant Robertson backed Traylor.

Labour Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson

“We have the issue of access to health services particularly, not just gender reassignment surgeries but also broader health services,” he says.

“There’s very inconsistent treatment between different DHBs around New Zealand.”

Amending the Human Rights Act to cover gender orientation should also be looked at.

“It’s the one area in terms of the agenda of the rights of the queer community that is not legislatively being sorted,” he says

“About 10 years ago we looked at whether or not we needed to amend the Human Rights Act so gender identity was a ground on which you couldn’t be discriminated against.

“We were told at the time that it was unnecessary because it was dealt with by sexual orientation.

“I think if you come a decade forward we all realize that’s not really satisfactory.”

Robertson also says a safe environment in education is also a concern but one that can easily be fixed through the Education Review Office.

“Just to make sure we continue the conversation about just letting everybody be who they are.” he says.

Chocolate cakes with the blue and pink colours of the trans flag

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