Embracing equity and Inclusion for rainbow communities

The Tindall Foundation has been on a journey over the past few years. In 2020 we launched a new fund called Embrace to increase wellbeing for trans, takatāpui and intersex young people, following on from our first rainbow donations in 2019.

The Foundation now has an internal rainbow competency initiative, is a key member of the Rainbow Funder Rōpū and has supported 13 rainbow organisations. Among the latter are two that are influential advocates working towards inclusion, wellbeing, equity and social cohesion across many levels: they are Te Ngākau Kahukura and Intersex Aotearoa, whose work is based on both research and lived experience.

Te Ngākau Kahukura works collaboratively to educate, advocate and change systems across health, rights and social services to make sure rainbow people grow up feeling safe and valued. Intersex Aotearoa is an intersex-led, national non-profit organisation that provides affirmation, advocacy and referral for intersex people and their whānau.

“Research has shown us that mental health issues for rainbow young people are significantly higher than other young people, because of the discrimination and social exclusion they face,” says Moira Clunie MNZM, Project Lead, Te Ngākau Kahukura.

The 2018 Counting Ourselves Survey (a trans-led survey of trans people in Aotearoa) found that five out of every seven participants aged 15 and older (71%) reported high or very high psychological distress, compared with only 8% of the general population in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

These statistics are too high. For real change to occur, we need targeted approaches to address discrimination and hate, and to celebrate our place in Aotearoa

Based on overseas research, it is likely that about 2.3% of the population has a variation in sex characteristics. As a result of Intersex Aotearoa, Te Ngākau Kahukura and other groups working with Statistics New Zealand, 2023 was the first year that the New Zealand Census asked questions about gender, sexual identity and variations of sex characteristics (also known as intersex).

“Variations of sex characteristics being counted for the first time in Aotearoa’s history through the New Zealand Census is a monumental step in the journey towards being seen, valued and understood,” says Jelly O’Shea, Intersex Aotearoa Communications and Community Manager.

“Intersex people have always been here; we are not a new phenomenon despite attempts to erase our natural diversity from common knowledge.”

TTF supports a stronger, more equitable Aotearoa and believes everybody has the right to feel included, valued, safe and respected, no matter who they are. The Embrace rainbow donation stream is helping to support that positive change for this community.