Professional associations for transgender health exist around the world, creating networks of people who are working to improve the health for trans people.
In 2009, ANZPATH (Australia & New Zealand Professional Association for Transgender Health) was formed at a World Professional Association for Transgender Health conference, after input from a few New Zealand attendees to an Australian group that was intending to set up ANZPATH. Since then, while ANZPATH’s Australian membership has blossomed to around 200 members, there has been a very small New Zealand membership of ANZPATH, with ten members from Aotearoa registered with ANZPATH in 2018. However, there is a wider group of people working professionally on trans health in New Zealand, whether in clinical, academic, community or policy settings. Some members of this larger group have not joined ANZPATH but have participated in ANZPATH conferences or training workshops. For example, about thirty people from Aotearoa attended the biennial ANZPATH conference in Sydney in 2017.
While there are strong contacts between people working on trans health in Australia and Aotearoa, the legal, policy and cultural frameworks for that work differ significantly between the two countries. Currently, there are potential opportunities to improve access to gender affirming care and broader health outcomes for trans people in Aotearoa. A local professional organisation would be well-placed to play a leading advisory role in relation to that work.
In 2018, those involved in organising the Aotearoa Trans Health Symposium started to talk more concretely about the idea of creating a Professional Association for Transgender Health Aotearoa (PATHA). We saw the Trans Health Symposium as a unique opportunity to progress this idea further. The process has moved more quickly than initially intended because ANZPATH was already reviewing its constitution and website and has suggested changing its name to AusPATH in April 2019. We hope that there will continue to be strong collaboration between people working in Australia and Aotearoa on trans health, including through joint conferences, and co-branding of events or resources. A contribution of $5,000 has been gifted from ANZPATH to the organisers of the Trans Health Symposium on 4th May 2019, to support the establishment of a New Zealand-based organisation.
Incorporation of PATHA
A meeting to discuss the future of a professional association was held following the Trans Health Symposium on 4th May 2019. Of the 80 people in attendance, there was unanimous support among those who voted to establish PATHA. Rules (download a copy here) and incorporation documents had been prepared in anticipation, and the photo featured above shows the 15 members who signed to incorporate the society.
An inaugural Executive Committee was also elected at this meeting, to hold office until the first AGM of the society.