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Trans artist leads charge with affirming poster

Fri 18 Nov 2011 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

The Human Rights Commission will release a poster created by a talented trans artist to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance this Sunday. "Trans people are born free and equal in dignity and rights," is the message Sam Orchard has put forward on a poster designed to affirm the human rights of trans people. The Auckland-based cartoonist and Masters in creative writing student says the Commission made it clear that it wanted a person on the poster. "I was equally clear that I didn’t want just one image, as there's not just one way to be trans or genderqueer," he says. The poster includes couples, families, people off to work and people just being themselves. They are set against a cityscape made up of a wide range of terms that trans people use to describe their gender identity. "Just as we don't all look the same nor do we use the same words to describe ourselves," Orchard says. On November 20 people will gather in centres all over the world to mark the 13th International Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day which began in San Francisco in 1999 to remember Rita Hester who was murdered in 1998, simply because she was trans. There will be a gathering at the Riff Raff statue in Hamilton, while Auckland and Christchurch commemorations will be held on 29 November. The day is designed to raise public awareness of violence and hate crimes against trans people, and provides an opportunity for non-trans people to stand alongside their trans friends, partners, children and parents. In the first nine months of 2011 alone, 116 murders of trans people from 23 countries had been registered with the project Trans respect versus Transphobia project. Since January 2008, it has documented 681 reports of trans people from 50 countries being killed. They include Upper Hutt's Diksy Jones, a 64-year-old who was a quiet, gentle, cabinet-maker who loved old cars, cricket and cats, who was killed in his home. In December 2010 two men were convicted of manslaughter for the killing, and jailed for 9.5 and 10 years respectively. Justice Robert Dobson in the High Court in Wellington said he gave the younger man the longer sentence because his part in the "brutal and tragic" attack constituted a hate crime. This was based on comments the man had made to police that he followed Jones' home "to beat up a transvestite", that he "believed in Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve", and thought Jones' did not deserve to live. In July this year, three Court of Appeal judges ruled that the longer jail term be reduced to nine years, and the minimum non-parole period be cut from five to four years. They believed Justice Dobson "overstated the seriousness of the hate crime aspect of the homicide". New Zealand Transgender Day of Remembrance events: In Auckland: GenderBridge has a community event at St Matthew-in-the-City at 7pm on Tuesday 29 November. The church is on the corner of Wellesley and Hobson Streets. BYO a plate of food to share. In Hamilton: Agender Waikato, in conjunction with Hamilton Pride, are holding a Transgender Day of Remembrance at the Riff Raff statue Hamilton at 7pm, 20th November. Local politicians are invited to attend and those who attend usually give a short speech. In Christchurch: the recently reopened Te Whare Puakitanga / Transition House will be holding a community meeting from 7-9pm on 29 November. Nau mai, haere mai koutou – everyone is welcome. Contact Cherise Witehira on (03) 372-9298 or for the address. You can order Sam Orchard's A2 colour posters from the Commission for free, with no delivery cost, by emailing Ata on Visit Rooster Tails Comic if you want to see more of his inspirational work including Queer 101 “a super, simple comic guide” to gender, sex and sexuality.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Friday, 18th November 2011 - 10:52am

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