I woke up yesterday furious at the transphobic hatred demanding my people to go back into hiding, and I vowed to myself that I will never go back into hiding.
As trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, who self identifies as Posie Parker, entered our country, I decided that I will stand stronger in who I am, than I ever have before.
Despite my commitment to stand up for myself, I felt vulnerable, and I felt afraid for my community.
There is only so much one can take, and trans people have been taking attacks from every direction.
Three hours before the counterprotest commenced, standing at Albert Park, the land that was soon filled with thousands of people, I realised that we were inheriting whaea Georgina Beyer’s legacy.
Her words, “give it everything you have”, echoed in my mind, and in that moment, my fear was engulfed by a desire to liberate my people.
I grew up being told that New Zealand is a tolerant country.
Well, I am tired of being tolerated. I am not something or someone to tolerate.
I don’t want to be accepted either. No one has power over me to accept me.
I want to be free. Free from discrimination, free from hatred and free from a constant debilitating fear of violence.
Aucklanders and New Zealanders from many parts of the country showed up and showed out.
Keen-Minshull’s minute group of supporters were outnumbered by counter-protests who attended wearing the trans flag colours and carrying signs in support of trans people and condemning Keen-Minshull’s transphobia. Keen-Minshull left Albert Park without saying a single word.
Auckland - I cannot thank you enough. Yesterday, you made me feel like I belong. You made me feel like I can live as my true self in this city. You showed me that I do not need to go back into hiding.
I thought my community was on its own, but you have proven me wrong.
I have an entire city full of incredible people ready to stand with me.
Auckland has sent the message clear and strong to the nosey posey Parkers of this world: Trans people are a part of our community, and Aucklanders will not stand for attacks on members of its community.
There is a silver lining of Keen-Minshull coming to Aotearoa and Australia.
New Zealanders and Australians saw first-hand how unhinged the transphobic movement really is.
People saw the merging of neo-Nazis and TERFS in Melbourne and thought to themselves that the TERF movement is not something they want to get behind.
It also lit a fire in inactive allies. Many New Zealanders support trans people but haven’t seen it necessary in the past to be visible allies. Keen-Minshull’s visit got thousands of those people out of their house and protesting for trans people.
Yesterday’s counterprotest brought our country closer. We set our differences aside and came together to protect the most vulnerable people in our community.
Auckland has made me so incredibly proud to be an Aucklander. But our fight does not end here.
We are in an election year, and I need you to put your vote where your mouth is.
Now it is over to you Wellington. Wellingtonians get out to the City to Sea Walkway near Civic Square at 1.30pm and one up Auckland.