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Information on Dana de Milo

Dana de Milo, a prominent figure in New Zealand's LGBTI community, was a transgender woman and an active advocate for queer and transgender rights. Her journey began in the early 1960s when, as a teenager, she moved from Auckland to Wellington. It was during this time that she became an integral part of Wellington's transgender community, which was then often marginalized and stigmatized.

The Wellington transgender community of the 1960s and 1970s was a close-knit group, with many of its members, including Dana, facing limited employment opportunities outside of sex work. This environment fostered a sense of solidarity and mutual support, but it also exposed them to significant risks and challenges, including violence against openly transgender individuals. Dana's experiences during these formative years deeply influenced her subsequent advocacy work.

Dana de Milo was not just a part of the community; she was a driving force in advocating for its rights and wellbeing. She became involved with several organizations that played crucial roles in supporting marginalized groups in New Zealand. Her work with the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective, the Drugs and Health Development Project, and HIV/AIDS prevention efforts underscored her commitment to health and safety issues affecting her community. Additionally, her involvement with the Māori Women's Welfare League highlighted her understanding of the intersectionality of various forms of social injustice.

Beyond these formal organizations, Dana's efforts to support the transgender community were significant. Her activism and outspoken nature made her a well-known figure in Aotearoa/New Zealand's queer community. She worked tirelessly to address the issues faced by transgender people, drawing on her personal experiences and deep understanding of the challenges they faced.

Dana de Milo passed away on 12 February 2018. Her death marked the loss of a passionate advocate and a beloved member of the LGBTI community in New Zealand. Her legacy, however, lives on through the many lives she touched and the positive changes she helped bring about for the queer and transgender community in New Zealand.

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Date written:1st January 2024
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