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Unitec to introduce Gender Affirmation Policy

Unitec first NZ tertiary institution to introduce Gender Affirmation Policy for staff and students

Auckland, 15 February, 2018 – Unitec Institute of Technology is the first tertiary provider in New Zealand to introduce a Gender Affirmation Policy in recognition of both staff and students who undertake a gender affirmation process while they are working or studying at Unitec.

The policy aims to support people as they go through the social and medical processes needed to match their gender identity, and covers such elements as staff training, education, additional leave and other forms of support.


Unitec’s Gender Affirmation Policy was drafted in response to ALLY coordinator Cathie Powell’s Masters Research, which identified the discrimination diverse-gender tertiary students can experience. The ALLY network is a group of staff and students who work to build an inclusive environment for diverse sexualities and genders at Unitec.


Cathie says: “This policy was developed in conjunction with members of the diverse-gender community and reflects Unitec’s commitment to working towards normalising gender diversity on campus. Whilst we acknowledge that education and awareness raising is a powerful way to create social change, it is also important that our policies and processes acknowledge the unique needs of this minority population.
“I hope that diverse-gender staff and students see this as recognition that they are valued and respected at Unitec.”

Sonya Collie, Equity and Inclusion Manager at Unitec adds, “The ALLY Network at Unitec is focused on advocacy on several levels and we are always looking to improve and strengthen our commitment to building an environment that normalises diversity of gender and sexuality. The Gender Affirmation policy is another example of this commitment.”

With the launch of its new student enrolment portal last year, Unitec introduced the option for students to identify themselves as gender diverse.

And in 2014, Unitec was the first New Zealand tertiary provider to offer a Diverse Gender Scholarship, designed to help develop more inclusive learning environments.

Unitec will field its largest contingent ever in this weekend’s annual Auckland Pride Parade which is themed Rainbow Warriors: Pride and Peace. More than 60 staff, students and their families will make up the Unitec walking float, accompanied by Pacific drummers and waving rainbow flags.
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