Mani Bruce Mitchell - Executive Director
Dip. T., Dip. Ed., Dip. Counsel., MNZAC, ITTA Counsellor
Established ITANZ (Intersex Trust Aotearoa New Zealand ) 1996 . My own clinical practice has been informed and extended by my own journey and exploration of my birth as an intersex person. My childhood was a complex discordant disjunction of growing up with conservative, loving parents in remote rural New Zealand and the never spoken about shrouded secret of my variant body and intersex reality. Trained as a teacher, with significant amounts of media training as a result of a 14 year career in emergency management I made a very careful and considered decision in 1996 to live openly, work as a professional person as an educator and break the silence, secrecy and shame that has surrounded this reality.
Georgia Andrews - Chairperson
Growing up in Central Otago, Georgia navigated complex healthcare environments as a young intersex person in both rural and urban settings. Following completion of her Primary Education degree at the University of Otago in Dunedin, Georgia worked in the disability sector as a support worker where she assisted youth to gain independence and build skills for paid employment. At age 21, she connected with Mani Bruce Mitchell for the first time after being led to believe for five years by doctors that she would never meet another intersex person anywhere in the world. This life-changing moment has drawn Georgia to actively promote the necessity of open access to patient-centered, psychosocial support services for young people and their whanau both here in Aotearoa, as well as at international intersex conferences in Italy and North America. Alongside her role of ITANZ Chairperson, she is Project Manager of Intersex Youth Aotearoa and Intersex Consumer Youth Representative on the Paediatric Society Child and Youth Clinical Referencing Group. In January 2019, Georgia moved to the North Island to commence a full-time inaugural Rainbow and Inclusion Adviser position at Victoria University of Wellington.
Tom Hamilton - Treasurer
Tommy is a Trans guy who has lived and worked in Aotearoa since 2004. Tommy lives in Auckland and works in the LGBTI community. He previously was the Executive Director of Rainbow Youth from 2009- 2013. Currently he is a volunteer counsellor at Outline NZ and the volunteer coordinator at Body Positive. Tommy also works as a lecturer at Unitec in the area of collaborative practice.
Jeanie Douché - Secretary
RGONZ RM BSc MA PhD
I have been a board member of the Intersex Trust of Aotearoa-New Zealand since 2010 and an Adjunct Research Fellow with the Graduate School of Nursing Midwifery & Health, Victoria University Wellington. From 2000 until 2014, I worked as a senior lecturer in the School of Health and Social Services at Massey University Wellington, teaching in the area of the social and political context of health. My interests lie in the field of Women’s health and (inter)sexuality, Gender, Language use, Cultural safety and Research Methodologies. I completed my MA in Midwifery, entitled Women’s Choice of Birth place and Locus of Control in 1997 and PhD entitled Caesarean section in the absence of clinical indications: Discourses constituting choice in childbirth in 2007. I am currently embarking on a collaborated study with Mani Bruce Mitchell with regard to infant genital reassignment surgery and its corollary for intersexual adult citizens.
Dr Brian King - Trustee
Brian is a cis-gendered researcher who facilitates research on how people use language socially, particularly from the point of view of gender. In the past he and Mani have worked together on research into intersex awareness in secondary school sexuality education programmes in New Zealand. He serves as a language consultant for ITANZ, and he has recently been invited to join the Intersex Research Coalition. He has published articles in international journals such as Language in Society, Sexualities, Gender and Language, Journal of Language and Sexuality, and Journal of Language Identity and Education.
Dr Geraldine Christmas - Trustee
My personal standpoint arises from my strong interest in gender and social justice issues, especially in relation to other issues such as medical ethics, informed consent and human rights. Though I do not have an intersex condition, my reading of intersex and gender variant people’s childhood experiences of gender and sex role expectations – because of their female assignment at birth – resembled some of mine. I was a “tomboy” throughout childhood and adolescence, and I would describe my gender as fluid/non-conforming.
In December 2013 I graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. My doctoral thesis, titled“It’s a... does it matter?” Theorising “boy or girl” binary classifications, intersexuality and medical practice in New Zealand, investigates this with a specific New Zealand focus, and can be accessed online at http://researcharchive.vuw.ac.nz/handle/10063/2845
Outside of ITANZ I’m also a PSA delegate and national convenor of New Zealand’s largest union (www.psa.org.nz). It has been a privilege and honour to be part of the ITANZ Board since December 2014.
Eliana Rubashkyn - Trustee, Harm Reduction educator and Refugee activist.
Eliana is a former refugee who arrived in 2014 to Aotearoa New Zealand as part of the United Nations refugee quota. Eliana was forcibly assigned at birth as male, but grew up aware of her intersex condition in a low-middle class neighbourhood of Bogota. Due to the violence that she experienced there she was forced to leave her Columbia to protect her life. Eliana spent several years as a refugee in multiple refugee camps in China, and during these years she mastered many languages including Mandarin. Eliana today speaks eight languages fluently. Eliana works as a scientist in a pharmaceutical laboratory in Auckland, as researcher, is an editor for the Harm Reduction Journal in the field of chemistry of addictions and nicotine replacement therapies. The experience of Eliana in the fields of pharmacology, health care, and pharmacy, combined with her own experience navigating hostile environments as an intersex person make her a wonderful asset to the team at ITANZ. Eliana states "We are intersectional, we need to create bridges with other larger communities and our invisible intersex community needs to educate and learn from others: medical organisations and professional, social advocacy groups, NGOs, governmental institutions and other rainbow organisations. Together we are more".
Jelly O'Shea - Trustee, Communication and Projects Manager
Jelly is a queer intersex person who is proud to be a member of ITANZ. As well having a background in the non-profit sector, Jelly is also an artist advocate, jeweller and practising artist herself. Jelly believes that ITANZ is an important part of a global conversation in bodily autonomy for all intersex people and believes through collective action, education and awareness we can all make progressive and intersectional change happen.
Dr. Rogena Sterling - Trustee, Human Rights Expert, and Intersex Advocate
PhD (law), LLM (Hon. with Distinction), LLB, BA, Cert TESOL
I always knew I was different but never understood until my late 30s when I gained access to the University library. I was there I able to understand who I was; an intersex person. Accepting who I was felt like I had left ‘prison’, I felt free for the first time. I graduated from the University of Waikato with my PhD in 2018. My thesis was titled “Identity and its protection as the aim and purpose of international human rights law: the case of (inter)sex identity and its protection” (https://hdl.handle.net/10289/11891).Since then I have been tutoring and lecturing in Jurisprudence, Administrative law, Urban Planning and Governance, and Social Policy. I have published in numerous books and journals and I am currently writing a book on the Horizons of Becoming and the dignity of Identity. I have presented various papers relating to intersex, self-determination, and identity. Lately, my research has been in Self-determination and Māori governance, Resource Management Act and Māori Law, and Indigenous Perspectives on Genomic Research and Intellectual Property.
I aim to work towards a society that recognises and accepts diversity so that we can all life together with our differences that make us who we are.
Dame Margaret Sparrow - Emeritus Board Member
DCNZM MBEBSc MBChB DipVen FAChSHM HonDSc(VUW) FRANZCOG(Hon)
I am a retired specialist sexual health physician. I worked in Family Planning for 34 years and the Wellington clinic is named the “Margaret Sparrow Clinic” in recognition of my commitment to sexual and reproductive health and rights. I am an Honorary Vice President and Life Member of FPA. In 1976 I studied for the diploma in venereology in London and on my return to New Zealand worked at the Wellington Sexual Health Service, then part of Wellington Public Hospital. It was there that Mani Mitchell walked into the clinic on 10 October 1996 and our staff became involved in intersex issues for the first time. Mani taught us more than we could find in any medical textbook. I became an inaugural member of the Intersex Society launched on 7 May 1997 and a trustee when ITANZ was formed. I resigned from the Board in September 2017 after serving for 20 years. I have a special interest in abortion care and for many years was President of ALRANZ (the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand). I am a Company Director of Istar Ltd which imports the abortion pill into New Zealand. In my retirement I have published three books on the history of abortion in New Zealand. Sexual Health pioneer Ettie Rout is one of my heroines.