Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dee & Stu - co-chair headlines

Our new co-chair

Hi, how are you? I’m so glad we have this opportunity to talk! My name is Dominique DeWitt, or Dee. I’m a Performance Artist who has recently completed my B.F.A. (Hons), in fact, you may perchance see my smiling face about town on the posters for the upcoming July Dr. Sketchy. I’m also a facilitator for the Wellington trans youth group ‘Tranzform’, a volunteer position that I have had the pleasure to be in for the past two years. But the reason I’m writing what you are now reading is that I’m the new co-chair of this fine group; the Wellington Gay Welfare Group. As far as I know - or anyone else at WGWG that I’ve spoken to knows - I am the very first trans co-chair that WGWG has ever had, and I am honoured to have been voted in to such a position.

Unfortunately there has always been some animosity about how included the ‘T’ of 'LGBT' has been within queer spaces and institutions. At times transgender inclusion has seemed a rather token gesture, being lip-service only. The problem of trans inclusion - and here I’m using trans as a term to encompass anyone who identifies as a gender different from that which they were assigned at birth- generally arises due to the differences in the issues faced by trans people, as opposed to those shared by much of the wider queer community. Although there is undoubtedly significant overlap, it sometimes feels like there is a huge chasm between the views and needs of the trans community and those of the rest of the 'LGB'. I hope that as co-chair of the WGWG, I will be able to work towards a better involvement of the trans minority in the larger 'LGB' majority, developing mutual respect and furthering our understanding of the issues we face as a community, as groups within this community, and as individuals. In this way I hope to enable the WGWG to continue it’s awesome support of a diverse and fabulous LGBT community in which everyone can feel involved and welcomed!


Strategy… and Melbourne

As we end another financial year and welcome a new co-chair, what should our group’s strategic priorities be? Here’s what I’d put on the shortlist:

1. School's Out future direction, funding and renewing employee contracts in October 2012

2. Helpline - taking Outline calls and using the Gayline national database

3. Undertaking a community survey to help determine our future five-year direction as a group

4. Deciding whether we change our management structure so every group is run in a more professional way

5. Improving our own promotion and community interaction.

And why, you ask, is Melbourne in the heading? The Australian Charities Commission offered me a 4-month contract from 1 August through to December so I will be heading across the Tasman soon. The July WGWG meeting will be my last as co-chair, which shouldn’t be a problem as the AGM is in August. If I don’t see you in July, I’ll see you at WGWG’s Xmas do! PS You’re welcome to visit.