Engage Aotearoa

Category Archives: Rainbow / Lgbtqi+ Community

Auckland Pride Festival on now

Auckland’s annual Pride Festival kicked off this week with a dawn ceremony at Maungawhau on the 3rd of February and runs right through to February 28th. You can check out the full 2021 calendar of events on the Pride Festival website at https://aucklandpride.org.nz/category/events/.

There are hundreds of events and heaps of them are free. You’ll find things like a Spoken Word Showcase on Feb 17th and 25th, the ICON exhibition from Same Same but Black from Feb 3rd – 28th, a workshop on Accessing Trans Healthcare on Feb 10th, lunchtime yoga at Ellen Mellville Centre on Wednesdays, and the Pride March from Mt Albert Park on Feb 27th.

Lindah Lepou’s powerful story of survival

Lindah Lepou is a Samoan transwoman, fashion designer, artist, and performer who recently shared her story in the form of a long prose poem called Blah Blah Blah, as part of the Pacific Arts Legacy Project from Pantograph Punch and Creative NZ.

This is an intense but powerful story that takes you on Lindah’s journey through growing up trans in NZ and Samoa, navigating stigma and discrimination, surviving physical and sexual violence, dealing with suicidal urges, and discovering her identity and personal power.

Lindah opens her story with an acknowledgement to ‘Le Va’. I love this concept. It’s like an ancient, indigenous predecessor to social constructionism and family systems thinking.

Jemaima Tiatia-Seath defines Le Va as “the relational space that connects people, things and elements. The sacred space between, the space that binds independent entities together, the space that is context, the space that gives meaning to things. A space not solely observed by the individual but also executed at wider institutional and societal levels. Pacific peoples inhabit multiple social spaces, hold various roles, responsibilities and standing within their families, villages, churches and communities, occupy a range of experiences, by age, socioeconomic position, gender identity, sexual preference, birthplace, ethnicity, disability, and religious/spiritual affiliation. Genuine Pacific cultural competency embraces and values all diversity. (See: Tiatia-Seath, 2018, The importance of Pacific cultural competency in healthcare, Pacific Health Dialog; 21/1: 8-9.) That can start to sound a bit academic sometimes, but when you read a story like Lindah’s, or any recovery story really, the many intersections come to life.

Lindah writes, “Ona muamua Le VA. Blah blah blah blah blah… Soso‘o mai loa AITU. Blah blah blah blah blah… GAFA Sāmoa and Pālagi lineage. A family of multidimensional artists. Blah blah blah blah blah… Solo Sāmoan mother and absent Pālagi father. Blah blah blah blah blah… I was born in Wellington, New Zealand (1973). Blah blah blah blah blah… Transgender. I was an effeminate child named ‘Aaron Lepou’. Blah blah blah blah blah…”

Later, she continues, “Blah blah blah blah blah… I create ‘Lindah Lepou’ with all the courage and qualities I urgently need. I wanted to kill myself. Blah blah blah blah blah… Performing Artist. I started dancing to express myself and build self-confidence. Janet Jackson and En Vogue were my obsession. Blah blah blah blah blah…”

Read the rest of Lindah Lepou’s story on Pantograph Punch here.

OurSelves volume 2

Earlier this week, Auckland Pride launched the second volume of OurSelves a free publication featuring eleven creatives from within Aotearoa’s rainbow communities.

Edited by Courtney Sina Meredith and Janet Lilo, and designed by Sarah Gladwell, the publication aims to delight and lend strength to those who discover their community reflected in it.

Order copies from the Auckland Pride website at the link below:
https://aucklandpride.org.nz/ourselves/

Highlights from Engage on Facebook

We Can’t Keep Treating Anxiety From Complex Trauma the Same Way We Treat Generalized Anxiety: Vicki Peterson writes “I’ve been living with the effects of complex trauma for a long time, but for many years, I didn’t know what it was. […] For those who have experienced trauma, anxiety comes from an automatic physiological response to what has actuallyalready happened. The brain and body have already lived through “worst case scenario” situations, know what it feels like and are hell-bent on never going back there again. The fight/flight/ freeze response goes into overdrive. It’s like living with a fire alarm that goes off at random intervals 24 hours a day. It is extremely difficult for the rational brain to be convinced “that won’t happen,” because it already knows that it has happened, and it was horrific.” Read more here.

Man Lessons – How to make a documentary about transitioning: “Over six years, Ben Sarten filmed Adam Rohe (who was assigned female at birth) on his journey into manhood, forming a friendship that to them has become as important as the documentary itself.” Read more here.

I was diagnosed with acute psychosis at 19. Here’s what came next:Kris Herbert reflects on her tumultuous mental health journey to share what she’s learnt along the way. She writes,”Our mental wellbeing is not fixed. It’s a shifting continuum and at the edges, we each have our limits. We all also have access to tools like exercise and meditation, good food and, hopefully, someone to talk to.” Read more here.

Researchers Find Lack of Evidence, Call for Halt to ECT: “A new review, published in Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, re-assesses studies that compare electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) with placebo treatment for depression. The analysis also assesses the only five available meta-analyses that claim that ECT is effective.” In a press release, John Read, the lead author says “This body of research is of the lowest quality of any I have seen in my 40-year career.” Read more here. In related news, dozens of people have sued the NHS after experiencing a slew of serious adverse effects that they were not informed of before they consented to ECT procedures.

Inside Internal Family Systems Therapy: In this article, Ben Blum gives a detailed description of Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS), including both clinician and service-user perspectives. Blum writes,”IFS therapy is upending the thinking around schizophrenia, depression, OCD, and more. […] In IFS, mental health symptoms like anxiety, depression, paranoia, and even psychosis were regarded not as impassive biochemical phenomena but as emotional events under the control of unconscious “parts” of the patient — which they could learn to interact with directly.” Read more here.

Find more on the Engage Facebook page.
www.facebook.com/engageaotearoa/

Support Group for Women to Talk about Same Sex Attraction; Auckland

Questioning?

Would you like a supportive women’s space to talk about same sex attraction?

This group is participant directed, a space to explore topics like:

  • What does same sex attraction mean to you?
  • Identity labels…e.g.  Bi, Queer, Lesbian, Dyke
  • Stereotypes and gender stereotypes
  • Being in an opposite sex relationship and having same sex attraction
  • Finding community and dating
  • Being out in society
  • If you want to come out, how to tell family, friends, work colleagues
  • Relationships with women
  • You, your children and a new relationship

This six-week group is facilitated by Cissy Rock and Ellie Lim.  Cissy is a prominent contributor to the Auckland Lesbian scene creating events and support groups.  She enjoys getting alongside people and sharing her experience as a mother, feminist, lesbian, friend and partner.  Ellie works for the Auckland Women’s Centre and has had extensive involvement with rainbow organisations.  She is passionate about enabling women to live the lives they dream of living.

Comments from previous participants:  (I enjoyed) “Being able to connect with people and talk to people who were experiencing similar things to me.  Having experienced people to help us and cheer us on.”  “Really enjoyed (it) and appreciated the professional delivery. Thanks! :-)”

Date: Tuesdays 7 July – 11 August, 2015
Time: 7.00pm-9.00pm
Venue: Auckland Women’s Centre, 4 Warnock Street, Grey Lynn
Cost: FREE
Contact: Ellie on 376 3227 ext 1 or email her on womensservices@womenz.org.nz
Come along, ask questions, share, this is a safe, non-judgemental environment. (6 weeks)

Engage Facebook Highlights

Here are a half a dozen recent highlights from our Facebook page. Please LIKE US!

Nuggets
Kiwi tastes a golden nugget. It’s delicious. Superb animated film about addiction.

Writing from the Toi Ora Creative Writers in the ArtWeek zine
Toi Ora writers make a splash: writing from Matthew Savage, Liz Higgins, Andrew Holdaway and more.

Nine Things Every Parent with an Anxious Child Should Try
Your child turns to you and says, “I don’t want to take the bus. My stomach hurts. Please don’t make me go.” A discussion

Public lecture by Professor Rosalind Gill: Sexting, sexualisation and sexism
Modern youth sexuality, sexting and the sexy selfie. 27 November 2014, 6pm.

Finding the Treatment Options that Suck Less
The Crazymeds Manifesto: to help you find treatment options that suck less.

Worst Things to Say to a Person With Bipolar Disorder
When your friend or loved one has bipolar disorder, here are the worst things you can tell them.

Four Articles from the APA Monitor

The following content is from the Monitor digital newsletter. The Monitor is the magazine of the American Psychological Association, which they describe as “a must-read for psychology educators, scientists and practitioners.”

Born Bashful

Psychologists have new insights into the causes and effects of childhood shyness.

Unlocking the Emotions of Cancer

A new mandate requires cancer centers to screen oncology patients for distress.

Double Whammy Discrimination

Health-care providers’ biases and misunderstandings are keeping some older LGBT patients from getting the care they need. Psychologists are working to change that.

Suicide and Intimate Partner Violence

A US federal initiative aims to bring experts from the two fields closer together in an effort to save lives.

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Good Practice Guidelines for the Assessment and Treatment of Adults with Gender Dysphoria

An online resource from the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London aims to improve treatment for people who identify as non-cis or gender-queer. “Gender variance is not uncommon…A survey of 10,000 people undertaken in 2012 by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found that 1% of the population was gender variant to some extent – though this figure cannot be assumed to be representative of the whole population…People often find it difficult to confide their feelings … to their GP because they fear ridicule, guilt or shame, or are concerned about delays in getting treatment… It is estimated that up to 40% of people with gender dysphoria may not be receiving appropriate help.”

The best practice guidelines are endorsed by 13 separate organisations and have been drawn up by a working group that included representatives from psychiatry, endocrinology, gynaecology, urology, general practice, nursing, psychology, psychotherapy and speech and language therapy, as well as representation from patient groups. It is the first time that so many different groups have come together to agree a common set of guidelines.

Click Here to Download the Full Resource

Thanks to the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership for sharing this information.

Mike King Korero Heads to Taranaki Region in September

Mike King and Tai Tupou are hitting the road again in September to encourage schools and communities to make it cool to korero about the tough stuff, so we all make it through.

  • 10 September, 1 pm, Cool to Korero, Francis Douglas College, New Plymouth
  • 10 September, 7:30 pm, Community Korero, War Memorial Hall, Stratford
  • 11 September, 7:30 pm, Community Korero, Waves Building, New Plymouth
  • 11 September, 12:30 am, Cool to Korero for Hawera High and Patea Area School, The Hub, Hawera
  • 12 September, 11:30 am, Combined Community Cool to Korero, Opunake College, Opunake

While the team at Key to Life are getting ready to hit the road, the team at Engage Aotearoa will be adding recovery resources from each of these towns to The Community Resources Directory, so they can be delivered to those who need them when the team hits the ground in each of their locations across Taranaki. If you know of any services in the Taranaki region you think others would find useful, email them in.

Hikoi for Better Mental-Healthcare Choices Builds Up to Petition Presentation at Parliament

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