Amy Brosnahan had been in the process of making a Human Rights Commission complaint after her exclusion from the Auckland final of Battle of the Babes Worldwide, which is being held at Auckland's Empire Tavern this Saturday.
âI felt really weird going into the competition not telling them what I am really about, what I stand for,â Brosnahan has told GayNZ.com Daily News of her decision to inform the event organisers she was transgender.
She says after being up front, she was told she could no longer be in the final as it was âfor female models onlyâ. She immediately called them out for discrimination, telling an event coordinator âjust because I am transgender, it doesnât mean I am not femaleâ.
Friends quickly took up the cause and also complained on her behalf.
After some thought, Featherstone and his team have decided Brosnahan can still compete if she wishes to.
âThis has been bugging us all day. We never like upsetting people and certainly don't like being seen as unfair. We have been bothered by Amy being upset about this âŚ we've just decided we should allow Amy to compete, seems like the simple answer and hopefully everyone will be happy, especially Amy, who we realise was enthusiastic about this,â heâs written in a message to Brosnahanâs supporters, which he has shared with GayNZ.com.
Featherstone has apologised for any âmisunderstandingsâ. âThis is pretty much the first time we have had to think about this, apart from a short chat in Thailand last year, so please forgive our naivety and confusion.â
Transgender rights advocate and political hopeful Kelly Ellis has gone into bat for the younger trans woman. During her calls to those involved in the competition she spoke to someone at the host venue, the Empire Tavern. Ellis says she was told âitâs the Battle of the Babes, not the battle of âthe babes and boysâ,â then hung up on.
Ellis says itâs great to see an organisation move so swiftly to change a discriminatory policy. âWhile it's sad to see it in the first place, we've ended up with a great result and, I hope, a salutary lesson to those who'd try to discriminate against trans people in New Zealand,â she says.
Ellis believes New Zealand is largely very accepting of transgender people. âBut I suppose every now and then the odd dinosaur pokes it head out of the swamp and we need to make sure that they get educated or sent back to where they came from.â
Sheâd earlier told GayNZ.com Daily News not being able to compete had left her feeling down. âBut Iâve got people surrounding me who keep my motivation up high. I want to make a difference in this world. I want to make a difference for the transgender community. Thereâs a lot people making a difference for lesbian, gay and bi rights, but transgender is very undercover and not spoken about as much.â