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Our community spread love for LGBTIQ+ and takatāpui whānau

When our community came together in kitchens, community halls, and around dinner tables to imagine a vision for Aotearoa in 2040, creating inclusive and diverse communities was a top priority. Everyone deserves to feel safe, welcome, and included in communities where resources are shared for common good and all voices are heard.

This year, we worked alongside rainbow communities to tautoko (support) and uplift their mahi (work) fighting for the rights, wellbeing, and happiness of LGBTIQ+ and takatāpui whānau.

This year, alongside Gender Minorities Aotearoa and InsideOUT, our community came together to stop hate toward from trans folk the best way we know how - by spreading love.

Giant 'trans is beautiful' poster on Queen Street in Auckland

More than 200 people donated over $5,000 to create beautiful, pro-inclusive feminism, trans positive stickers and posters in less than a week.

70 volunteers from all over Aotearoa, from Invercargill to Auckland, volunteered their time to put up more than 600 posters and 1000 stickers in their local communities.

Five volunteers including the sticker illustrator Sam Orchard sitting around a table with a variety of the stickers and posters

We also worked with Phantom Billstickers to put up 120 posters on city streets in Wellington, Christchurch, and Auckland - including a few giant ‘Super Max’ posters on Karangahape Road and Queen Street.

You can read this article on The Spinoff featuring sticker designer Sam Orchard that tells the story of this collaborative effort to show love, care, and aroha for our trans whānau.

Our op-ed in the NZ Herald with the headline, "Trans voice missing in the "trans debate"

Next, we coordinated an op-ed for the NZ Herald that asked 20 trans and non-binary people for their experience and provided a platform for their whakaaro (thoughts) to be shared safely. We asked cisgender folk (people whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth) to listen to them, and acknowledge that the identity of trans people is not up for debate. Here are some of their perspectives:

"Every day is difficult coming out as trans. There are so many anxieties and fears. Using bathrooms, going swimming, bumping into old faces, not passing, accessing resources to begin transitioning, finding support, the cost of appointments and assessments, the cost of essential and life-saving surgeries, putting trust in people, changing and updating documents, being constantly uncomfortable with chest binding, being alone, difficulties and safety around trying to have intimate relationships."

"Some members of my family have threatened to cut me out of their lives and I delayed coming out because I was scared of being rejected by my family and forced to be homeless.

"I just want to live as everyone else in environments where we are safe to exist in and contribute. I wish we were judged and treasured by our character and personality, not our gender and sexuality."

“I wish the positive stories were shared and celebrated too. The absolute joy of growing into your own skin and seeing who you are reflected back in the mirror. How much work trans people and groups do, supporting each other and making really valuable contributions within our families and communities. And the difference it makes when our schoolmates, teachers, work colleagues, employers, women’s refuges, whānau and friends stand beside us.”

"I wish we could be safe, respected, and understood."

In November, the Auckland Pride board stood alongside members of the rainbow community who expressed their mamae (deep hurt) over systemic police violence and oppression of Māori, people of colour, takatāpui, and trans people.

After seven community consultation meetings, the board asked police to take part in the parade in t-shirts or plain clothes instead of uniforms to help ensure pride is safe and inclusive for everyone in the LGBTIQ+ community.

Our director Laura O’Connell Rapira and community organiser Kassie Hartendorp wrote an op-ed for Radio New Zealand explaining the history of the relationship between police and the rainbow community, and calling for healing, acknowledgement of wrongs, and true reciprocity from the New Zealand police.

Over the next few weeks, several corporations put the Pride celebrations at risk by withdrawing their sponsorship pūtea (money) over the decision.

Screenshot of the Givealittle page

Laura, alongside The Coalition for a Truly Inclusive Pride, set up a crowdfunding campaign to replace Pride’s corporate funding with community pūtea. In just three weeks, 630 generous donors raised over $30,000 for a Pride for the people, and for a Pride that’s truly inclusive. Pride has always been political and this crowdfunder provides a chance to reimagine what Pride looks like when it’s run for and by the community - without the banks and phone companies.

Next, we’ll collaborate with rainbow and takatāpui communities to envision healing and restoration within the community, and build power for inclusive and diverse communities.

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