New group for trans and gender-diverse community

Rainbow community . . . Dunedin Pride trans and gender diverse group co-ordinator Riley Young (left) and Dunedin Pride co-chairman Matthew Schep are launching the group to create a safe and inclusive space for the community. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON

Dunedin Pride is launching a social and networking group for members of the trans and gender-diverse community.

Co-ordinated by Riley Young and Cassie Withey-Rila, the group will provide a safe and inclusive space for people in the community to meet each other.

Mx Young said it would give people, some who might be questioning their gender but “don’t have all the answers”, to share a cup of tea and a meal.

There had been similar groups in the past but nothing regular or permanent – they were mostly arranged through word of mouth – so the new group aimed to “fill the gap”.

“I think it will be good to see what the need is from the community .. and hopefully try to meet that.”

Dunedin Pride co-chairman Matthew Schep said there was already some interest in the group, which will form on July 1.

“People are really excited for something to happen.”

The group is for people aged 18-plus.

It was easier for university and polytechnic students to create networks, so it was important to create the group to give older people a pathway to make connections, he said, “especially for such a marginalised part of our community”.

Mx Young said the organisation already had a rainbow youth group, for people aged between 13 and 18, which met fortnightly.

“We think that a youth space would be better for youth, rather than youth coming to a group with 34-year-olds.

“Having to facilitate that would be a little more difficult just in terms of safety.”

Dunedin Pride was formed in August, has about 70 members, eight board members and more than 20 volunteers.

It will host a youth ball and youth hui later this month.