The first person to come out as an Intersex person in New Zealand, Mani Mitchell has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to intersex advocacy and education.
A human rights advocate and educator for intersex people in New Zealand, Mitchell played a significant role in establishing the Intersex Trust of Aotearoa New Zealand (ITANZ) in 1997.
The Intersex Trust was the first of its kind in the world and Mitchell has served as its CEO since its inception.
Mitchell has contributed to initiatives to include intersex conditions in the fields of sexual health medicine and mental health.
The focus of the award-winning television documentary ‘Mani’s Story’ in 2003, Mitchell narrated the 2012 film ‘Intersexion’, which has won several awards at international film festivals and is used as an educational resource by the UN Commission for Human Rights.
“Being acknowledged for the work that I have done in the field – particularly work for the intersex community – and acknowledgement of the people who have stood beside me, supported me and ushered this work is amazing,” they said to Stuff.
Mitchell was born in 1953, identified (inaccurately) as a hermaphrodite at birth and initially assigned male gender. Has had nonconsensual genital ‘feminizing’ surgeries and is a survivor of child and adult sexual abuse.
The work they have done around transforming their own trauma narrative has been foundational in their activism of the last three decades and also with PTSD awareness – with a particular focus on the mental health issues for youth and marginalized rainbow members in our community.
Mitchell has been a member of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) governing council since 2015. Mani Mitchell has played a key role in organising ILGA World conferences in Wellington in 2016 and 2018.
Last Updated on Jun 8, 2021