Where Andrew “quite happy with my gender” Little Went Wrong

Today Labour voted on and passed a policy for free gender reassignment surgery for the second time at a regional conference. Seeing as the current waitlist is longer than our average lifespan, this sounds like good news!

Until you read the coverage, and how the higher-ups in the party responded.

“I’m quite happy with my gender” – Andrew Little

Andrew Little apparently hasn’t given the policy any thought, and stated that he was happy with his gender. Okay, great for you, so am I, but just because you don’t have any problems doesn’t mean the rest of us have to go without surgery that’ll save lives and significantly improve mental health and living conditions.

Then there was Stuart Nash, MP for Napier, pulling the “we just don’t have those people here” we’re all too familiar with:

“To be honest, never once in Napier has anyone ever said they’re not going to vote for Labour because we’re not funding gender reassignment surgery.”

The thing is, Nash, there are definitely transgender people in Napier. In fact, with an electorate population of about 70,000, there are probably at least 500 transgender people in your electorate (judging from the 1.2% gained from the Youth12 data). And even if there somehow weren’t, does that mean that transgender people outside your electorate don’t deserve access to healthcare? Would you do this for every group of people with specific healthcare needs? If they’re not in your electorate, they don’t matter? Would you ignore the needs of at least 500 of your constituents if it were any other group of people?

Little and Nash’s views reflect a very serious problem: they don’t care about our healthcare needs, not when it’ll come at the cost of votes. Nash was quoted saying “I don’t think it’s an issue that’s important to the people of New Zealand”. Because public popularity is more important than our lives.

This issue is important to those affected by it. This ‘issue’ is our lives and our well-being. This is a human rights issue, not a policy popularity one.

Cheers to those within Labour who are pushing for this. To the rest: sharpen the fuck up.

I wrote about trans healthcare, lives, and safety in reference to state violence last month: read here

I also spoke about this issue and Labour’s response with GayNZ: read here

Finally, read my appeal for fundraising help here

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I’m asking for your help

This is a tough post for me to write. Though this house operates on the kindness of others I’m still uneasy with actually asking for help. It’s also hard because this is my first/last/only chance and I need to somehow put my all into it without getting my hopes too high, because if it doesn’t work out I’ll be devastated.

I need surgery. I’m certain of it. I need it to be able to continue living my life – the longer I go without it the harder things get and the closer I am to dying. The public waitlist is 61 people long, currently not moving due to the lack of a surgeon in the country who can operate, and will be cleared in 40 years (plus however long it takes to hire a new surgeon). That’s longer than many of our lives, and at 20, knowing that if I magically jumped through all the hoops to even get on that waitlist tomorrow, I’d be dead well before finally getting it.

At most, I can save $80 per week, and that’s really pushing it. That’s with going to uni as absolutely little as possible, it’s with doing the bare minimum of self-care and food – and it’d take 6 years of that, with absolutely no unexpected bills or emergencies, to get the money I need.

So I’m asking for help. I want to keep doing what I do, to keep pushing and fighting for this community and to try make a tangible difference, but at this point I’m so dysphoric and exhausted it takes all my energy to even leave the house.

It’s still going to take a long time – the fundraising campaign I’ll link is set to run til 2020 – but hopefully it’ll take a lot less longer than 40 years.

So please, donate if you can and share this as much as you can – I’m relying on the kindness and generosity of others for this.

Here’s the link, and here’s a tumblr post about it to share there too.

Thank you.

Census 2018 and Gender Identity

Statistics NZ are considering including a question on gender identity in the next census. This is great! What’s not so great is their current recommendation is to exclude it on the basis that it could be a confusing question, because to most people the distinction between sex and gender is confusing.

Here’s the wording:

Due to a lack of a classification, we have not tested possible questions on gender identity. Whether a standalone question would work on a self-completed form such as the census is not well understood. People may confuse or not understand the difference between ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ which are conceptually different, and not interchangeable.

Stats are important. They’re incredibly useful for advocacy work. The Youth12 data has been incredibly useful to many of us for pushing for a hard line. They tell us that our trans and gender diverse youth are suffering from mental illness, self-harm, suicide, bullying, abuse. We’re able to put this data to universities, schools, and other institutions to prove to them that they need to do better.

That’s why I’m upset about this. The Youth12 data was helpful but this would be an even bigger step forward. Having relatively concrete data on the amount of trans and gender diverse people in the country would help significantly for many advocates pushing on the government and NGOs for change. Letting that go just because the question may cause confusion seems a weak response compared to the potential improvement in living conditions and the lives saved.

So I’m going to be pushing for this to be changed on the Census’ Loomio, and I ask that others do too.