Gender identity and the Human Rights Act Part 2 – update and submissions

Allyson HamblettAllyson 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, Allyson updates us on the progress of this issue and let’s DPSN readers know how they can make a submission to support the new legislation.

This submission concerns the supplementary order paper that Louisa Wall presented in Parliament that addressed the issue of adding gender identity to the sex category of the Human Rights Act. This is fantastic. I’d like to thank Louisa Wall for finding a way to do this via the Statutes Amendment Bill.

Being able to say that “gender identity” is covered under the Human Rights Act rather than saying it may be covered, but we haven’t got round to testing it out in the High Court, will be much better for trans people in New Zealand. We could then explain the processes that Georgina Beyer went through; she sought a legal opinion from Crown Law. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to just simply say gender identity is covered in Human Rights legislation – it’s right there. Please help to make this possible.

The Human Rights Commission recommended that ‘gender identity’ be specifically included under the sex category of the Human Rights Act, because they were not absolutely sure that all trans people would be protected from discrimination with the way the current Human Rights Act was worded. I was surprised by the recommendation because of the Crown Law Opinion that Georgina Beyer sought before she left parliament.

But armed with the ‘To Be Who I Am’ recommendation I’ve been trying to find ways to get this on the political agenda. It feels surreal; I can’t quite believe that the process has begun to finally clarify the Human Rights Act.

“Gender identity” currently appears in two pieces of legislation, including last year’s Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act and the Sentencing Act (2002). It should get through this political process.

The time to clarify the Human Rights Act (1993) in terms of gender identity is now.

Find out more about the Bill here 

Find out more about the process of making a submission here 

                                                                                                                                                              

Each month DPSN features one or more guest bloggers 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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