Scholarship for transgender students

Last updated 06:48 26/02/2014

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An Auckland tertiary education provider has announced it will soon be offering scholarships for transgender students.

From the second semester Unitec will offer scholarships to two trans students per year.

Director of Student Support Alison Dow says the school decided to create the scholarships because it recognises there are still significant barriers to success for transgender people.

"Despite the legislative progress made on behalf of gay, lesbian and bisexual people, there remain significant barriers for trans people in many facets of their lives," she says.

Ms Dow says these barriers can include issues around personal safety, as well as challenges like obtaining an identity card and navigating the enrolment process.

"As well as financial support, the scholarships will include mentoring to help the recipients engage with their studies and life on campus," she says.

The value of each scholarship will be about $1500.

The school plans to work with the Gay Auckland Business Association Charitable Trust to connect with its current scholarship programme, which is aimed at gay and lesbian students.

Unitec hopes this partnership will not only boost the value of the scholarship, but also connect students to other scholarship recipients.

Rainbow Youth general manager Duncan Matthews says it is great to see Unitec recognise the extra hurdles faced by young trans individuals.

"I see extremely smart, talented young trans people come through Rainbow Youth every day, who struggle with the health system, WINZ, employers, shop staff and whanau just to live as they are," he says.

"It can mean tertiary study is a distant dream."

He says the scholarships will help more trans people realise their true potential.

Details will be ready closer to the start of semester two.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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