Given the statement posted in March 2023 about the NCWNZ's policy of recognising the rights of transgender people, it is useful to provide a quick primer of terms. This primer is borrowed and adapted from an article published in my college alumnae/i magazine (Vassar Quarterly, Summer 2022). The terms and definitions may differ from individual transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive people may use, however this list might be helpful for those not accustomed to what transgender inclusion educators are working on these days.
First, we need to agree on what gender identity means. This is one's internal, deeply held sense of one's gender as male, female, both, neither, or another gender. Gender expression includes external representations of gender - for example, one's name, pronouns, clothing, haircut, behavior, voice, or body characteristics. Many identify these as masculine or feminine, however we need to remember that what is considered masculine and feminine varies by culture and changes over time. All of us have both a gender identity and gender expression, whether or not you are a transgender person.
Transgender comes from trans, a Latin prefix meaning "across." Transgender is an umbrella term for people who do not identify with the gender that correlates with the sex they were assigned at birth (usually male or female). A transgender man was assigned female at birth, and a transgender woman was assigned male at birth.
Nonbinary people - or people who do not identify strictly as a man or woman - fall under this transgender umbrella.
Cisgender people are those who do identify with the gender that correlates with the sex they were assigned at birth. Cis- is a Latin prefix meaning "on the same side as."
While NCWNZ members and leadership continue the important work of peace and justice, we remember that this organisation was founded to empower those who lacked access and opportunities because of their gender.
For further reading:
- Ahmed, S.; Beach, L.; Safer, J.; Veale, J.; Whitley, C. "Considerations in the Care of Transgender Persons," Nature Reviews Nephrology 19, pages 360–365 (2023). [Open access via Dr Jaimie Veale's publications webpage: https://profiles.waikato.ac.nz/jaimie.veale/publications.]
- Besnier, N. "Polynesian Gender Liminality Through Time and Space." In Third Sex, Third Gender: Beyond Sexual Dimorphism in Culture and History. Ed. Gilbert Herdt. New York: Zone Books, 1994.
- Fraser, G.; Brady, A.; Wilson, M.S. "'What if I’m not trans enough? What if I’m not man enough?': Transgender young adults’ experiences of gender-affirming healthcare readiness assessments in Aotearoa New Zealand," International Journal of Transgender Health 22 (2022): https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/26895269.2021.1933669?journalCode=wijt21
- Hollingsworth, R. "Milestones: Legal Status and Sexual Orientation/Identity" The Circular, 638 (15 Dec 2022): https://www.ncwnz.org.nz/milestones_lgbtq-laws
- Te Awekotuku, N. "He Reka Ano – same-sex lust and loving in the ancient Māori world." In Outlines: Lesbian & Gay Histories of Aotearoa. Eds. Alison J. Laurie & Linda Evans. Wellington: Lesbian & Gay Archives of New Zealand, 2005.
- "Transgender People who Experience Discrimination and Stigma are more Likely to have Poor Mental Health Outcomes," The University of Waikato News and Opinion (13 Oct 2020): https://www.waikato.ac.nz/news-opinion/media/2020/transgender-people-who-experience-discrimination-and-stigma-are-more-likely-to-have-poor-mental-health-outcomes
- Turban, J. "The Disturbing History of Research into Transgender Identify," Scientific American (23 October 2020): https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-disturbing-history-of-research-into-transgender-identity/