JUNE/JULY 2020 UPDATE FROM THE BOARD

When I write the Winter Board newsletter I am usually reporting back on our Seminar, Retreat and AGM. But there is nothing usual about 2020. Covid 19 restrictions in levels 2, 3, and 4 meant we were unable to plan to meet and travel. A quieter, more restful June has been welcome after the anxiety of lockdown. We have continued having Zoom Board meetings but it is not the same as spending time together, sharing food, laughter and hugs.

On Saturday 2nd of August we hosted our Board meeting and AGM, both by Zoom. At the AGM both Fatima Al-maery and Jan Waddell were elected on to the Board. A summary of the Board’s activities for the year will be added to the Annual Report. In the context of Black Lives Matter we discussed the need for renewed commitment to our kaupapa Maori Policy. Board members who are able to do so will attend a Raranga Workshop this month, organised by Borni, who has coordinated past World AIDS Week celebrations.

In Aotearoa we are going through a time of change and upheaval. This has also been true in my personal life, although in a positive way. After thinking about it for a long time I made the decision late last year to formally transition my gender. I identify as a transman and my preferred pronouns are He, Him. There is no angst or distress about my decision; it is a gift to myself. I was aware of the implications for my role on the Board and offered my resignation, which was politely declined.

I feel very lucky to have the love and support of my family, friends and colleagues. However it is important to acknowledge that transwomen, transmen and non-binary people are disproportionately affected by pandemics such as HIV or Covid. Historically transwomen of colour have been particularly vulnerable to violence. For now we seem to be safe in our bubble here in Aotearoa, but along with many of you, I am very concerned about whanau living overseas.

Arohanui, Luca Bree on behalf of the Board