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A Banner Month for Trans Rights & Visibility in Hawai῾i





On June 16, Hawai῾i Governor David Ige signed three pieces of legislation, including a bill to expand access to gender affirming care, at a bill signing ceremony at Bishop Museum with legislators and members of the trans and LGBQ community. The other bills prohibit exclusion from jury service on the basis of gender identity and establishes a statewide LGBTQ+ Commission.


Kua῾ana Project Manager Maddalynn Sesepasara attended the ceremony and was quoted in a KITV story that evening. In May, Sesepasara co-authored a Honolulu Civil Beat opinion-editorial with HHHRC Grants & Advancement Manager Nikos Leverenz urging Governor Ige to sign the bills. She also was quoted in a June 17 Washington Post story covering the statutory expansion of access to gender-affirming care.


Kua῾ana Project and HHHRC staff joined members of Oahu’s trans community and allies at the opening of the Kapaemahu exhibit at Bishop Museum on June 17, followed by an outdoor screening of The Healer Stones of Kapaemahu. The exhibit runs through October 16.


The hour-long feature, which explores the legacy of renowned māhū healers from Tahiti who came to Waikīkī hundreds of years ago, is available online at no cost via World Channel. The primary creative forces behind the feature, Kumu Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, animator Daniel Sousa, and filmmakers Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson, also co-authored a children’s book Kapaemahu, published by Penguin Random House.


HHHRC co-signed an “Open Letter Supporting the Full Inclusion of Transgender and All LGBTQI+ Youth” from The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights on June 22. The statement provides, in part: “We support the full inclusion, protection, and celebration of transgender youth, including access to school facilities and extracurricular activities such as athletics, gender-affirming care, and inclusive curriculum, because all young people deserve safe, healthy, and inclusive environments. Transgender and non-binary youth deserve the chance to succeed and thrive like any other child.”


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