Media Release, Agender NZ, Response to Human Rights Commission Report.

Transgender group call for action on Human Rights Commission Report on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics

Agender NZ, a New Zealand trans group, welcomed Saturday’s release of the Human Rights Commission (HRC) Prism Report on problems facing people with a diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Agender New Zealand National President, Tracee Nelley, said she agreed that the human rights problems facing trans people in Aotearoa stemmed from a myriad of complex legal, regulatory, institutional and societal problems that meant members of her community were denied access to legal status, health care, housing and jobs that other members of society took for granted.

Ms Nelley stressed that while all the recommendations in the report deserve government action, one of the fundamental problems that obstructs appropriate funding and policy focus is the lack of sound information on the numbers of trans people in the country and their particular needs. “Statistics NZ must do better to collect this vital information”, she said. “Without high quality data, government legislators, policy makers, budget administrators, managers and practitioners whether in health, education, the justice system, or elsewhere, fall back on their own preconceptions of what is required – an obvious failure leading to the present intolerable situation.”

The Prism Report highlights that the healthcare system in particular has been slow to adapt to meet the needs of trans people resulting in a disorganised, poorly funded system with major gaps in the availability and accessibility of services across the country making it difficult for health practitioners as well as patients to navigate.

“Some of our members will die before they receive the help and legal recognition, they need to be themselves”, said Ms Nelley.

Ms Nelley added, “We thought that the 2008 HRC report “To be who I am” would bring about fundamental change but over the last decade change has been painfully slow. In the meantime, we remain marginalised and discriminated against with fearful levels of anxiety, self-harm and suicide.”

“This report must be the catalyst for long overdue change” Ms Nelley said. We call upon political parties across the spectrum to avoid using us as a political fodder and instead support change so we can all become fully functioning and productive members of society.

Ms Nelley said, Agender NZ is willing to work with relevant Ministers, Ministries, Departments, and DHBs to develop safe and inclusive policies and actions plans to further the well-being of transgender people in Aotearoa New Zealand.’’
End statement.

Contact: Tracee Nelley, President, Agender NZ
Phone: 027 280 6466
Email: tntinhamilton@xtra.co.nz