Gender identity and the Human Rights Act – clarify it, then it’s done

AllysonAllyson Hamblett is a long-time transgender rights advocate, who is among those who have been pushing for specific protection from discrimination based on gender identity to be included in the Human Rights Act.  In this weeks guest blog, she weighs in on an update which has raised hope of action.

The issue of the need to clarify the Human Rights Act in terms of gender identity has been around since the Human Rights commission recommended it in “To Be Who I Am” in 2008.  Although really the issue dates back to when Georgina Beyer attempted to get gender identity into the Human Rights Act as a specific grounds for discrimination, which instead resulted in a Crown Law Opinion in 2006.  For some this has been enough and raises the question, why lobby for something that is already there?

“Gender Identity” has now appeared in the 2013 Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act, but is also in the 2002 in the Sentencing Act. The latter saw the term added without any issue or controversy, and when the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill became law we witnessed that fantastic speech by Maurice Williamson.

Louisa Wall has recently written a letter to Judith Collins asking her to agree to amend the Human Rights Act as part of the Statutes Amendment Bill, which will be going through Parliament later this year.  She says that the “Crown Law opinion is extra-judicial and while it may act as a guide to some Judges, there is no guarantee that section 21 in its current form will be interpreted as including gender identity.”

Louisa Wall concludes: “I would therefore appreciate it if you would agree to include an amendment to section 21 (1) (a) to state “sex which includes gender identity, pregnancy and childbirth,” to this year’s Statutes Amendment Bill”.

Let’s lobby Judith Collins to make the necessary amendment, and finally clarify the Human Rights Act in terms of gender identity.

This blog was previously published on GayNZ.com

                                                                                                                                                              

Each month DPSN features a guest blogger with a unique take on diversity.  We also repost relevant blogs from other sites, with permission.  If you’d like to write for DPSN, or know someone you think we should contact, please email barbara@diversitynz.com

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