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Jack L Byrne

Jack Byrne

Senior Research Officer, Trans Health Research Lab

Qualifications: MA (Applied Social Science Research)

About Jack

I am a senior human rights researcher and policy analyst and a co-investigator on the Aotearoa New Zealand Trans and Non-Binary Health Survey, Counting Ourselves.

I am passionate about applied research and human rights based policy making that ensures people can participate effectively in decisions that affect their lives. Recent roles include sitting on the Minister of Internal Affairs’ Working Group for reducing barriers to changing registered sex, participating in the Advisory Group informing Statistics NZ’s Sex and gender identity standard review, and being a member of Auckland Council’s Rainbow Communities Advisory Panel. I sit on the revision committee for the 8th edition of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s Standards of Care and am the Chair of the Policy and Advocacy Committee for the Professional Association for Transgender Health Aotearoa (PATHA).

Research Interests

My main areas of research are on the human rights of transgender people, with particular expertise on transgender health and wellbeing and legal gender recognition, including for refugees and asylum seekers. I joined the Transgender Health Research Lab in September 2017, as one the lead researchers and authors of Counting Ourselves: the Aotearoa New Zealand Trans and Non-binary Health Survey.

From 2006—2010, I project managed the New Zealand Human Rights Commission’s Transgender Inquiry, including liaising with multiple government agencies about the implementation of its findings. Since 2013 I have worked as a consultant researcher on projects about the health and human rights of LGBTQI+ people in Asia Pacific. This has included co-authoring a manual for the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (APF) and co-facilitating training on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) for APF members in South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. I co-authored the Asia Pacific Trans Health Blueprint, working with two UN agencies (UNDP and UNAIDS) and the Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN). That publication has been translated into multiple languages and used by trans communities and health professionals to improve the provision of healthcare for trans people across this region.

I developed and co-lead a legal gender recognition research project for APTN and UNDP covering nine countries in Asia, working alongside trans communities, academics, lawyers, government officials and other key stakeholders. That work then extended to supporting a related pilot research project in Fiji.  Recent projects for APTN including overseeing a regional research project on conversion practices that aim to change or suppress transgender people’s gender identity or expression, and developing an online training module for health professionals in Asia and the Pacific.

Selected publications

Tan, K. K. H., Schmidt, J. M., Ellis, S. J., Veale, J. F., & Byrne, J. L. (2021) "It's how the world around you treats you for being trans": Mental health and wellbeing of transgender people in Aotearoa New Zealand. Psychology & Sexuality. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/19419899.2021.1897033

Tan, K. K. H., Ellis, S. J., Schmidt, J. M., Byrne, J. L., & Veale, J. F. (2020). Mental health inequities among transgender people in Aotearoa New Zealand: Findings from the Counting Ourselves survey. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(8), 262.

Fisk, Kylie, and Jack Byrne. (2020) The Cost of Stigma: Understanding and Addressing Health Implications of Transphobia and Discrimination on Transgender and Gender Diverse People. Evidence from a Trans-Led Research in Nepal, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Bangkok: Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN).

Veale, J. F., Byrne, J. L., Tan, K. K. H., Guy, S., Yee, A., Nopera, T., & Bentham, R. M. (2019) Counting Ourselves: The health and wellbeing of trans and non-binary people in Aotearoa New Zealand. Hamilton, New Zealand: Transgender Health Research Lab, University of Waikato.

McDonald, E., Byrne J. and Dickson, S. (October 2017) ‘The significance of naming harm for trans women: Defining rape in Aotearoa New Zealand’. In Hazenberg, E. and M. Meyerhoff (2017) Representing Trans: Linguistic, Legal and Everyday Practices. Wellington: Victoria University Press

UNDP and APTN. (2017) Legal Gender Recognition: A Multi-Country Legal and Policy Review in Asia.

Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions and UNDP. (2016) Promoting and Protecting Human Rights in relation to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Sex Characteristics.

Kismodi, E., Cabral, M. and Byrne J. (2016) ‘Transgender Health Care and Human Rights’. In Ettner, R., Monstrey, S. and E. Coleman (2016) Principles of Transgender Medicine and Surgery. Second edition. New York: Routledge.

Health Policy Project, Asia Pacific Transgender Network, United Nations Development Programme. (2015) Blueprint for the Provision of Comprehensive Care for Trans People and Trans Communities in Asia and the Pacific. Washington: DC: Futures Group, Health Policy Project

Byrne, J. (2015) Trans Health is a Human Rights Issue (translated into Japanese by Yuko Higashi),Sex Education Today No. 52, 2015: 2-9

McDonald, E. and Byrne J. (2015) ‘The Legal Status of Transsexual and Transgender Persons in Aotearoa New Zealand’ in Scherpe, J (ed.) The Legal Status of Transsexual and Transgender Persons. Cambridge: Intersentia.

United Nation Development Programme. (2013) Discussion paper: Transgender Health and Human rights