Speaker: Joanne Neilson

Host: Southern GWN

Venue: Tūranga, Christchurch Public Library

Date: 17 February, 2021

Attendance: 44


Southern GWN was pleased to host Jo Neilson at our Inclusion and Diversity Event as Jo spoke to attendees about her transgender journey.

Joanne Neilson is a transgender activist, author and broadcaster. Joanne has been actively engaged in a broad network of LGBTQIA+ support and advocacy organisations and project oriented community groups such as Agender (National President and Chairperson), Q-Topia and Christchurch Pride.  She has a strong background in media and broadcasting ranging from 3 years as Christchurch reporter for the successful Queer Nation sessions and over 20 years on the airwaves with Women on Air as well as Outwaves gay radio and Transistor Radio, a radio show for the trans community.

SGWN had overwhelming interest in this event to the extent a larger venue was required, also making it easier to comply with Alert Level 2 restrictions with 1 metre distances.  It was great to see lots of new attendees, along with what are now regular faces.

Jo kept the audience captivated with her story of life so far.  Being transgender in the 70s was painful as Jo dealt with the illegality of it at the time, unable to report the abuse and violence she suffered along the way. The impact of acceptance of who she was, and the eventual inclusion with groups that occurred over the years helped to support her wellbeing.

Attendees left knowing how to make those in our communities and workplaces, who are different from others, feel seen and feel included. Importantly, attendees were invited to challenge behaviours that make our LGBTQI+ communities feel excluded.


Jo Neilson addresses a socially distanced audience
Jo Neilson and Karen Mora, SGWN Coordinator
Jo Neilson speaks from the lecturn

Event attendees adopt the 'Choose to Challenge' theme pose for International Women's Day 2021

SGWN Committe and Jo Neilson
Jo Neilson and Jennie Farrar-de Wagt, SGWN Chair

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