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Sam Orchard and co

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[00:00:00] This recording was made at the second the Asia Pacific Outgames human rights conference held in Wellington, New Zealand in March 2011. [00:00:08] I'm Sam orchard, and I am a youth worker and comic book writer, and trans man, and this is right up my alley. That's why I came. [00:00:23] I'm Joey McDonald, and I'm a master's student in gender studies. So my university gave me some funding, and I used it to come here. And I've been doing presentations on trans masculinity, and storytelling, and today, we're going to do one on queer and trans youth support. So really, I just want to hear from other people, the kinds of things that they're doing, and learn from it. [00:00:53] Cool. I'm Nick McMillan, I'm here as a facilitator for torches, trans youth support group and crush. And heroes sort of get some links with other transcripts and other trans people around New Zealand and Asia Pacific. [00:01:08] Have you found any similarities or differences just within New Zealand itself in terms of trans issues? [00:01:15] Yes. [00:01:18] And I think it's really different because trans is something that [00:01:24] a trans means different things to different people can be used like an umbrella word like transgender often is. But it kind of it's, I was thinking of like a slice of pie like it. There's people from all over New Zealand and all walks of life who are trans. So it's always different. Because you know it. People have different ethnicities, people have different classes, people have different locations and generations. And like, you know, there's huge differences between experiences of Paki, how are white people like myself, and someone who's Pacific Almighty, and we we had a trans Hawaii on Tuesday on the 15th of March. And that was really about having like, an Asia Pacific flavor of what it was like for different people in different places. So we had people from Nepal, and from India, and from Malaysia, and from Hong Kong, and all over the Pacific. And it was beautiful. I mean, there was a lot of everybody kept using the word family. So I think the similarity came across and that everyone wanted to be connected, but also have this sort of specifics recognized. So it would always be this is, this is me, this is where I come from. And I still relate to all of the others, you know, so we found a way of trying to work with the difference, [00:02:43] I think this has been a really great opportunity just to realize how many more of us they're out there, and kind of get us in the same room talking to each other. And that, for me always feels really, really special. And having those different, the intergenerational next as well. We're, I mean, people, even within New Zealand, have had really different experiences based on [00:03:07] when they were coming out and transitioning and, [00:03:12] and what society was like then compared to us who are relatively young. [00:03:17] And I think that the intergenerational thing also relates to going across all of those different identity categories. So we've had sessions where we've had wonderful, older lesbian women who've said, Hey, we feel worried about losing some of our lesbian women, because they're transitioning to becoming trans men. And so actually being able to have a dialogue about that is incredibly valuable. So we can say, Oh, we know so many lesbian women who are so gorgeous to it, who are young. So it's not that there's an older generation of lesbians and the younger generation of trans men, and that one replaces the other, but that we can have these, like multiple explosions all over the place of people doing different things. So those conversations I wouldn't be able to have back Indonesian, by myself, or even in part of the social groups. Yeah, I could talk to myself. What do you think, what do you think? But But you know, I need I need to be interacting with other people across New Zealand to have those conversations and this is a safe place for that to happen, often it, it wouldn't be feeling safe and comfortable for everyone. [00:04:25] So do you feel quite isolated back in your own home pants? [00:04:29] I do somewhat. I have a lot of sort of Trans and Queer and gender diverse friends, Indonesian. I don't know how many a lot is, but but enough that I don't feel personally isolated. But Dinesen being way down in the south does feel quite isolated, and in New Zealand, exploiting us about flights because now there's nobody else who flies to us. And pictures too expensive to drive. So the place that we're the most connected to is Christchurch, we're for you, utopia. So we have quite strong links with Christchurch. But elsewhere yet I think South Island feels quite separate sometimes. [00:05:11] She even in Christchurch, the trans community as a whole is feeling isolated crusher church being a little bit behind some more progressive cities and New Zealand, the trans community is still very isolated, even from the gay community. The links, forging key topia trying to force those links and the younger members of society. But in the older generation says links just aren't there. So as much as we can try and force them, the trans community is still very isolated down it. [00:05:40] Why do you think those links aren't there? I think [00:05:43] it's, it's the same thing is even the gay community being isolated from the strike community, it's about fear, it's about lack of knowledge. And it's about people not really having the confidence to reach out to other groups in society, they kind of stick to their own destiny, what they know, they stick to what they think is safe. And I kind of don't want to go any further than that. So it's about having somebody who's willing to bridge those gaps. [00:06:10] That's right. I think that my experience I've just moved up from Geneva to Auckland, and that it's such a different experience being able to have much, there's so many more visibly queer people and visibly trans people that I can connect with up there. But also, building on what Nick was saying that having those opportunities to have dialogues with people who have different identities or experiences has been really powerful for me. And it's, that's why things like this is really is a really wonderful opportunity to have that conversation and have it in a safe way. And start those those links to kind of break down the stereotypes or break down that fear and say, oh, we're all people. And I like comedy makes all you like comics co kind of thing, finding different things that connect us. And yeah. [00:07:06] So have you ever been to a movie like that before? [00:07:10] I haven't. Personally, this is my first time I have been to gatherings of trans people around names and soft like when I showed nothing came down to crush they bought a whole heap of trans people to do panels and stuff like that. But I've never actually been to a full regional territory was awesome. [00:07:31] Yeah, I don't I don't, I don't think I've been to anything on the scale of the our games human rights conference. I think we've had similar and the trans hooey that we had that was kind of attached to it. The number of people who came from so many different places, and all of those voices, and especially non white voices was really powerful. [00:07:53] And I haven't experienced that before. [00:07:57] Yeah, I just echo the, the size of this. And the diversity amongst the people who have attended is just really incredible, [00:08:06] has nothing challenged you. [00:08:08] My first session I went to was on trends, employment. And I'm going back to crushers probably to come out at work. And the first session listed a whole heap of problems you will probably face in the workplace. And as I walked into my first session, and they loaded me up with it, and I'm like, right, I'm going home now. But it was confronting, but it was good. Like, it's given me not only the expectation that there could be some problems, but it has given me some possible solutions and ways to deal with those problems. So as as much as some of it's quite difficult and quite confronting, it's also very useful. So and it is stuff that people are going to have to deal with anyway. So yeah, [00:08:53] I feel like this has been a really eye opening experience to listen to other people's stories and experiences of what they've been through and how how they've lived their lives. It's felt like it's kind of made me feel very lucky in some ways. And very privileged, but also given me a lot of passion to kind of say, oh, what more needs to be done? And what what can my role be in that as well? [00:09:23] Yeah, I feel [00:09:26] I feel challenged by so many things. [00:09:32] Challenge talking into a microphone. And [00:09:36] I was thinking about how there were moments of, at the trans Hawaii where people were speaking about really emotional experiences that they've had, like, a trans man from Nepal, who was helping, there was one was friends was helping him with translation and stuff. We didn't I couldn't understand a lot of what was being said, but I absolutely knew what was being said, just because of the emotion of you know, and half of us were crying. And there was just a lot of empathy. And and I felt challenged by that to be really vulnerable in that space. Like I, I couldn't put up a wall between myself and this other person. And I had to find a way of living that in without feeling terribly depressed, and, you know, find a way for that to be motivational when he talks about spending time in jail, and talks about really brutal, scary stuff that happens and the complete lack of healthcare. So I felt challenged by recognizing that there are all these different contexts where different situations are happening with LGBT or also whatever kind of indigenous labels and knowledge and frameworks people use, because I know LGBT doesn't work and so many content. So I guess, empathy, and being vulnerable has been challenging. And language has been challenging, like finding ways of, of connecting with people who either there's a language barrier, and I only speak English, which feels incredibly limiting. Like I can't believe I only speak English. And recognizing the privilege, as Sam said, that goes along with being a white English speaking person who can afford to have a university pay for me to come here. And then the language of just the words we use to describe ourselves. What [00:11:36] do you want to take away from this conference? What do you think you'll you'll come away with [00:11:41] me personally, I was here to get links to other trans people nationwide, and other trends and queer youth groups nationwide. And I think I've pretty much to change that already. I think most of that we have changed in the hood. But now I'm just here for information, just just to get a sense of what's going on, not just a New Zealand, but the rest of the Asia Pacific region. And just to get more of a connection with the people here. [00:12:08] I think I'll take away a feeling of my heart growing [00:12:14] something like that something about? I haven't I feel like I haven't processed it yet. I haven't processed what, when I next week, when I'm home and Anita and then I'm reflecting on what this was like, then I'd be able to answer the question. But I think until the end, I just have a feeling of, of Yeah, of my heart growing. [00:12:33] Yeah, I think for me, [00:12:37] sort of [00:12:39] the increase of not of knowledge that I've gotten over the last couple of days. And I think in the next couple of weeks sifting through what that what that means and making sure to keep my eyes open to that and not close them again, but also to, to solidify that into that knowledge into action as well. To have a think of ways to to actually move forward with it. [00:13:04] inspiration, inspiration for action. Yeah. [00:13:09] One final question, which is like in 50 years time when somebody listening vegetables, as in the archive, what would you say to that person? [00:13:18] I feel like I not want to say things, but actually ask them a whole bunch of questions and see what it what it's like and what has changed and [00:13:28] where we've moved, I guess [00:13:31] I had a feeling of wanting to say thanks. Thanks for listening to us. Thanks for you know, looking back at the past in order to move forward, because this will be the past in so I'm looking forward to the future. I hope they're loving it. And and it's a wonderful thing to know that that people will want to hear what what has been part of the history. [00:13:57] I think just partially to expand on what Charlie said, no matter what improvements have been made between now and then in terms of our rights and our acceptance and public and stuff for them not to forget that to keep fighting not to get complacent and not to think hey, we've got it as good as we're going to get it and hey, it's awesome. You do still have to make sure that that keeps up and don't let things slide

This page features computer generated text of the source audio. It is not a transcript, it has not been checked by humans and will contain many errors. However it is useful for searching on keywords and themes.