Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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"Every Bloody Right To Be Here": Trans Resistance in Aotearoa New Zealand, 1967 - 1989

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posted on 2023-09-26, 23:59 authored by Will HansenWill Hansen

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, trans people in Aotearoa New Zealand resisted cisgender hegemony in numerous ways. This thesis aims to explore three key methods of trans resistance practiced during the period between 1967 and 1989 – community building, trans pride, and normalising trans. This study reveals that trans community building was the essential first step for the budding trans movement, yet maintains that there was never one single trans 'community’ and that each trans community practiced different and sometimes contradictory politics. Just as it was necessary to feel pride in one’s trans self in order to have no shame in connecting to trans others, so too was it necessary to challenge cisgender hegemony and advocate for trans people. This study examines the various ways trans people embodied ‘pride’, refusing to bow to shame on stages as large as the nation’s highest courts to as common as the everyday encounter on the street. The role of trans people in sex worker, gay liberation and homosexual law reform movements is also considered, as is the way trans politics reflected changes on the broader political landscape. Finally, this thesis takes a critical view of attempts made to normalise transness. In the fight for trans rights, some communities practiced a politics of transnormativity and respectability; they attempted to make themselves more respectable by further marginalising those trans communities which were already marginal. This thesis aims to spotlight the disciplining power of race, class, sexuality and gender, determining which bodies mattered and which did not.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Master of Arts

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Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations


Locke, Cybèle