The Human Rights Act (Prohibition of Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity, or Expression and Variations of Sex Characteristics) Amendment Bill is due for its first parliamentary reading.
It is imperative that this legislation succeeds, given that trans people have only the ‘second class’ antidiscrimination status of inclusion within sex after the late Sir Michael Cullen inserted a Crown Law Opinion to ‘read’ trans people into antidiscrimination laws.
Meanwhile, all of Canada and Australia’s provinces (as well as the federal governments), the United Kingdom, Ireland, and numerous other comparable jurisdictions to ourselves have long since added gender identity to their antidiscrimination statutes. It is high time Aotearoa New Zealand followed their lead.
This will not be an easy process, but we need to draw a line in the sand on it. The ACT Party’s calls for the wholesale erasure of the Human Rights Commission are absolutely unacceptable.
New Zealand First seems to think it can play football with trans and intersex people’s rights to freedom from discrimination, and frankly, the poison spread by Family First, Right to Life NZ and various tiny pseudo-feminist organisations parroting the hateful propaganda of Posie Parker, and other right-wing extremists, needs to be dealt with now.
Reluctance to legislate on this vital human rights concern has meant that our country is lagging well behind other comparable nations and risks becoming a national embarrassment, akin to the unconscionably long delay in liberalising our abortion laws.
In particular, the Christian Right seems to think that just because it has lost so comprehensively when it comes to marriage equality, same-sex parenting, historic gay ‘offences’, and conversion therapy bans, it can target trans people with impunity.
National, ACT, and New Zealand First need to be told in no uncertain terms that they will not be allowed to defer these imperative reforms a moment longer; and that LGBTQI+ citizens vote. Come on Aotearoa/New Zealand, it’s time!
Article | Craig Young.
Craig Young (he/him) has been an LGBTQI+ rights activist for the last forty years. He’s been involved in every LGBTQI+ rights campaign since homosexual law reform and isn’t stopping now.