MP Wall says more light needs to be shed on transgender issues

By Harata Brown

An open hearing on engaging boys and men in sexual and reproductive health and rights initiatives was held in Wellington and concerns faced by transgenders also came to the fore.

Discussions about sex-changing surgery have gone viral, especially since American personality, Caitlyn Jenner, shared her story. 

Labour MP Louisa Wall says New Zealand also needs to fund more transgender operations saying, "Because what we know is that people who are living in what is a torment and is a sense of hopelessness, actually leads to depression and self harm and ultimately suicide."

Wall introduced legislation that legalised same sex marriage and says out of the 60 people waiting to have sex reassignment surgeries, not one has been achieved.

"In the last three years because of a lack of qualified surgeons, no operations have been conducted in spite of the government having a commitment to fund four operations every two years." 

Tawhanga Kereopa identifies as transgender and says the government also needs to consider policy changes that better understand the transgender community. 

Kereopa says, "Too often, especially in clinical professions for transgender people to even name themselves is determined by somebody else." 

The call for more support for transgenders comes as Family Planning and the United Nations Population Fund in partnership with New Zealand's Parliamentarians Group on Population and Development aims to better understand boys and mens sexual and reproductive health and rights with a particular focus on Pacific and Māori.
Jackie Endond, the CEO of Family Planning says, "The main objective is to raise awareness around Parliamentarians around the need for services and targeted for men around reproductive sexual health."

A report will be produced in due course with the aim of supporting further action to improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights of men.