Inclusivity for transgender people/irawhiti/fa’afāfine/fa’atama

By Supplied by the Ministry of Health

10 November 2021

Category: Clinical


Here are some tips for ensuring transgender/intersex/non-binary /takatāpui/MVPAFF+ people feel safe and included when checking in to get vaccinated:

  • Don’t make assumptions about a person’s gender, pronouns, or family roles. If you need to know this information to provide a good service, it’s okay to respectfully ask for it.
  • Use the words and pronouns that they have asked you to use or that they use to refer to themselves. For example, some people use the pronouns “they/them” instead of “he/him” or “she/her”. If you don’t know a person’s pronouns, try using gender-neutral language like “this person” when talking about them.
  • Identification is not required when coming in for vaccination. Be aware that people may not want to show you identification that has a different name or incorrect gender on it.
  • If someone asks you to use a different name or gender to that shown on their NHI/CIR, please respect that and do your best to ensure that others do the same. You will need to tell the vaccinator to use a different name when calling the person. The person may have a card with them with their NHI name, the name they use and/or their NHI number as they may not wish to discuss it.
  • If someone wishes to change their NHI name or gender details, they should contact their regular health care provider such as their GP practice. Their health care provider will either be able to directly update their details on the National Health Index or, if they do not have update access, they can contact the relevant DHB who can make the changes for them.
  • Confidentiality is especially important for people whose names and gender do not match those on their NHI/CIR or identification – please ensure that any discussions between staff members needed to ensure the person’s correct name is used and their gender is affirmed are not able to be overheard by others

Many transgender/intersex/non-binary /takatāpui/MVPAFF+ people experience distress or discomfort in healthcare settings due to past experiences and fear of discrimination. Treat everyone with respect, and remember to be kind.

* MVPFAFF+ refers to a number of Pasifika gender identities and forms of gender expression and sexual orientation. These include Māhu, Vakasalewalewa, Palopa, Fa’afafine, Akava’ine, Fakafifine, Fakaleiti / Leiti amongst others. The term MVPFAFF+ was first coined by Phylesha Brown-Acton in 2011.