AYCHCH McARDLE

I’ve got it pretty good for a gen­der­di­verse per­son. But I can’t live with that un­less the cir­cum­stances of peo­ple at the bot­tom are lifted.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - IDENTITY -

Aych McArdle has had to take on the role of teach­ing peo­ple to use plu­rals in­stead of the bi­nary ‘he, she, him, her, his and hers’ when dis­cussing gen­der fluid peo­ple, or any num­ber of cat­e­gories on the sex­ual iden­tity spec­trum.

The 28-year-old iden­ti­fies as ‘gen­der queer’ which means Aych doesn’t re­late to any gen­der, hence there is no ‘he’ or ‘she’ to be used, but in­stead the pro­noun ‘they’. They are well up to any lob­by­ing task.

Aych was this year se­lected as the first New Zealan­der ac­cepted for the Hu­man Rights De­fender Ad­vo­cacy Pro­gramme run by the In­ter­na­tional Ser­vice for Hu­man Rights in Geneva, held in June. “I saw that ap­pli­ca­tions had opened and thought YOLO (you only live once).”

Aych has form. A for­mer full-time staffer at Rain­bow Youth (RY), then board mem­ber, Aych has had prac­tice ad­vis­ing gov­ern­men­tal bodies, in­clud­ing the Min­istries of Health, So­cial De­vel­op­ment and Youth Af­fairs. As ed­u­ca­tion direc­tor at RY they over­saw strate­gic de­vel­op­ment and ran pro­fes­sional work­shops for ed­u­ca­tors go­ing out to Auck­land schools.

The pro­gramme in Geneva en­ables par­tic­i­pants to di­rectly en­gage in lob­by­ing and ad­vo­cacy at the 32nd ses­sion of the UN Hu­man Rights Coun­cil, with the aim of ef­fect­ing change back home. Be­fore leav­ing for Geneva, Aych said, “I’ll learn about in­ter­na­tional treaties as well as be­ing in­formed on the pro­tec­tions for hu­man rights de­fend­ers around the world.”

Aych grad­u­ated with a Mas­ters in Fine Arts but ramped up their al­ready politi­cised ac­tiv­ity when com­ing out firstly as les­bian and now gen­der fluid.

“I was raised on so­cial jus­tice val­ues, cour­tesy of my Scottish, work­ing-class par­ents and my Catholic ed­u­ca­tion. I joined Amnesty In­ter­na­tional when I was 11.

“I’ve got it pretty good for a gen­der­di­verse per­son. But I can’t live with that un­less the cir­cum­stances of peo­ple at the bot­tom are lifted. Adapt­ing the lan­guage from the bi­nary gen­der vo­cab­u­lary to non-gen­der word­ing is a pow­er­ful and log­i­cal learn­ing tool for ev­ery­one.

“Us­ing in­ap­pro­pri­ate terms is mi­cro op­pres­sion that adds to al­ready high mi­nor­ity stress.”

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