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Wednesday 27 August 2014


Council forum: A transsexual's response

Posted in: Our Communities
By Racheal McGonigal - 1st October 2012

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Racheal McGonigal
A Transsexual’s comment on the...
Auckland Council’s Social and Community Development Forum.


To me, the most important message put across was from Jonathan from ASH.

‘Marginalising the marginalised’

On 19th September, 2009, GayNZ published an article of mine entitled ‘A minority within a minority.’ Transsexuals are the most marginalised of the marginalised and this was evidenced during this forum. How many times did you hear Transsexuals referred to?
Very few. You were told several times to stress the point that ‘Trans*’ is preferred. You were told we are either in the Rainbow box or the Queer box.

As Jono pointed out using himself, you cannot identify what someone is by looking at them.

I am Racheal McGonigal. A Female. A New Zealander. I am heterosexual. I am a sex change female and so a Transsexual. Most of that is none of your business but has become your business as others seek to put me in boxes I do not belong in.

I am not Gay.
I do not belong in the Rainbow box.
I do not belong in the Queer box.
I am not Transgender as there is no noun.
I am not a Transgender person.
I do not belong to the Transgender community, partly because I have been ostracised by them. Partly I don’t wish to be there.

I do belong to the GLBTI as the ‘T’ meant ‘Transsexual’ but now Trans* have taken that from us as they have taken other things.

Transsexuals are the most marginalised within the marginalised.

I strongly urge caution on Council as to who people are really representing.

Ask organisations who they represent, how many in their organisation and how big is the pool they draw from. Not once did I hear this, all were just accepted to represent their sectors of the community. Did they? What were their sectors?


Transsexuals are the most marginalised.

A comment was made to me recently by a member of the ADHB I am dealing with, on behalf of other Transsexuals, that they were told the word ‘transsexual’ was an antiquated word and no longer used. Who said this? Clearly they were NOT a transsexual. There are still many transsexuals around and more and more are standing up, disassociating themselves from the Transgender umbrella, Transgender groups as they feel they have been just absorbed and been negated. Personally, I can’t stand the prefix Trans with a flower and the use of the word ‘Queer’ to describe me is offensive. Don’t include me under it just because of the definition you wish put to it. Queer means weird, unusual, different, and freaky from my learning.

I seek no one’s sympathy but just understanding.

During the forum, a call was made to approach Statistics NZ re getting numbers of Gay/Lesbian people. Please don’t marginalise us further. What about gender as well? Figures are needed on gender as well as sexuality. Currently working on overseas figures there would be some 10,000 to 20,000 Transgender people in NZ. Same say more than 20,000. There would be some 5,000 transsex people (commonly Transsexuals). These are all guesses. Please don’t marginalise Transsexuals further.

Do Councillors really know the differences between transsexuals and those others who are happy to be under the Transgender umbrella? What is a Trans*? A Transgender person? A Gender queer? An Androgynous person? A Transvestite? A cross dresser? Please don’t just dump us in a barrel and say ‘Oh, you’re one of those.’ Don’t marginalise us but understand us.

Cr Hulse spoke nice word re Council being inclusive of all gender. Nice words but hard to believe there is sincerity when even though there was an apology issued re the disgustingly bigoted booklet ‘The street prostitution industry in the southern communities of Auckland’ endorsed by the Mayor Len Brown and supported by the Auckland Council and it is still available. The apology was empty and Cr Hulse seems a nice person, but excuse me if I am a little suspicious of intentions of Council.

That booklet is disgusting, an insult to Transsexuals and the Transgender community. It is bigoted, discriminatory and impacts on all Transsexuals and Transgender people who are maligned by it. How you ask? I walk into malls and food courts and often make eye contact with people. We smile and nod heads usually. I’m easily spotted as a Tranny and it doesn’t bother me as I am out and open.

My Doctor is in Hunters Corner and recently I went to see him. I went to the Hunters Corner mall and food court. I felt people looking at me. I made eye contact with people and they quickly looked away. Nobody smiled back. While I don’t blame the book entirely, I am sure it has contributed to the mood of people down there to all who are gender variant. I was given the distinct feeling ‘Oh, you’re one of those, Yuk’

Don’t marginalise us further.

What follows below can be easily dismissed as Racheal/Storm just mouthing off again but it can all be substantiated as fact. This is not a personal attack on Genderbridge Inc but a deep concern re an organisation approaching Council for support and presenting/implying as being inclusive/representative of all Trans (with a flower) and Transgender people.

Personally I have been labelled by Genderbridge Inc and members as being elitist, a separatist, transphobic, homophobic, a nazi and more. I have been booted from Genderbridge Inc membership and from their Facebook page. Other transsexuals are in a similar boat to mine. Jazmine, Tyronne, Simone, Sarah, Flowin, Jacquie and more. All booted, pushed out because they expressed their views openly and honestly in discussion. All Transsexuals who were ostracised and marginalised by an organisation that was once a good Transgender organisation, inclusive of all. Just who is elitist? Separatist? Isolationist? And disingenuous in ‘our’ communities?

I have always been open to resolving my personal differences, approaching Outline and Councils own Cissy Rock to help. Genderbridge Inc have been defiant in they’re not wanting to engage and seek merely to malign and belittle. More marginalisation.

Social media has become a big means of communicating, Facebook likely the biggest. Genderbridge Inc has some 128 members; AgenderNZ, 50 members (The only National body but in the throes of restructuring) Agender Chch, 110 members. Many of these members belong to more than 1 group. Based on a pool of 20000, Genderbridge’s % is only 0.64%. These pages are closed and cannot be seen by non members. Exclusive, secretive and non accountable. Giving members the right to feel ‘safe’ but also giving them the protection to say what they like, about who they want and not be accountable.

In mid 2011, a Transsexual frustrated by the way some transgender groups were behaving, set up a Facebook page ‘Transsexuals of New Zealand’. (TSofNZ) By March 2012 it had approx 20 members but then was when there was big disruption, mainly Genderbridge Inc ousting transsexuals and transsexuals started to stand up. Wanting to be identified as different, not elitist, from other Transgender people. Sorry but Transsexuals are different.


One of the main differences that leads to controversy alas is Transsexuals tend to believe in the binary. We are male to female or female to male. Non Transsexual, Transgender tend to believe in fluidity of gender. Transsexuals seek to change their bodies by hormones and surgeries to male or female and these are of importance to us. Transgender people usually have other priorities such as changing legal documentation which Transsexuals see of a lesser importance.

After the various ostrasizing of some transsexuals, the group TSofNZ has grown to 97members. 70+ are Transsexuals here in NZ but we have transsexuals from overseas and supporters as members. 97 members from a pool of some 5000 is 1.94%. A considerable achievement in some 6 months. We have had numerous articles from members on issues such as a 30 yr waiting list for surgery, personal stories in magazines seeking people to understand transsexuals. We are currently working with ADHB on addressing some issues important to Transsexuals.

Some articles have been picked up around the world by other Transgender and Transsexual groups. BUT here in NZ, the Transgender groups such as Genderbridge Inc gave no support. One article by GayNZ is all the support Transsexuals received.

Transsexuals are marginalised even by those who surely should be supporting them.

Currently TSofNZ is looking at formalising itself into a formal group. Where some sectors yesterday sort the ability to be involved in consultation by Council and consideration of financial support, can I please ask Council to be assured of just who is involved and how the money is to be used.

Transsexuals of New Zealand (TSofNZ) is an open group. We believe that it is important for people to be adult and accountable. Discussion is welcome and differing views expected. We will work in with and support the Gay /lesbian and Transgender communities so long as it is not detrimental to Transsexuals. Our Facebook page is open for all to see and read. We want to be understood and not a secret group. These days it is all about transparency.

I would hope that the Auckland Council will seek to involve Transsexuals of New Zealand in future consultations on matter pertaining to Transsexuals such as educating staff etc. At this time, they are not asking Council for money or premises, merely I’d suggest two things.

Fair consideration of transsexuals hopefully leading to de-marginalisation and...

The removal of that offensive booklet.

Thanks,
Racheal McGonigal

If you would like to share your thoughts on an issue, we welcome community submissions. Email news@gaynz.com


Racheal McGonigal - 1st October 2012

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