Watch: Trans Kiwis, young and old, tell their stories

Netball coach and umpire Sarah Michelle Hansen-Vaeau. Image / Jason Oxenham, Paul Slater

After decades of struggling to be seen, trans people are now very much in the spotlight.

From the Big Gay Out to the crowds who protested against anti-trans activist Posie Parker, trans people in Aotearoa are now visible and in the news. But that increased visibility is a mixed blessing.

In many ways, says trans actor and singer Brady Peeti, this is the best of times to be trans. In parts of society trans issues and rights are now being championed and being trans is increasingly becoming normalised.

But in other ways, she feels it’s never been more dangerous to be trans, as shown in a backlash of anti-trans hatred following Posie Parker’s short lived visit to this country.

“It’s hard being trans because just existing can piss some people off,” says Peeti in the opening episode of TransGenerations, an eight-part online video series presented by the New Zealand Herald and Trajectory Media and supported by NZ On Air.

“No one makes this decision lightly. I don’t think it’s ever not difficult, if I’m being honest with you.”

TransGenerations tells the intensely personal stories of transgender Kiwis from their late 70s to early 20s, documenting the history of trans experience in New Zealand and dispelling stereotypes about who trans people are.

They range from a 78-year-old who transitioned at the age of 50 to a prominent activist in their 20s. They talk frankly about identity and prejudice, being forced into sex work and surviving prison, family life in all its forms - and their passions for sport, politics and the arts.