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Human rights for all humans, not just angry extrem

18th January 2008

Human rights for all humans

The Green Party entirely supports the Human Rights Commission's call for better recognition of the rights of transgender people, Green Party MP Metiria Turei says.

"Despite New Zealand society at large demonstrating progressive ideals, the rights of transgender and intersex people is one of the few areas where it is still legal to discriminate in this country," Mrs Turei says.

"The reality is that many communities, families and individuals in New Zealand have supported transgender and intersex people in overcoming the barriers that exist to achieving fulfilled and complete lives.

"Carterton surprised the world by electing Georgina Beyer mayor twice and then voting for her as the Wairarapa's Member of Parliament. Joy Liddicoat of the HRC spoke this morning of many lesser known stories of acceptance and personal achievement in the face of legal hurdles," Mrs Turei says.

"However, the extremist right continues to prop up arcane laws which reflect a reality no longer considered acceptable by most New Zealanders.

"These moral crusaders need to catch up with the rest of society who understand that human rights are about humanity, not about gender identity - just as we recognise that human rights are not about ethnicity.

"Thankfully, those who deride the basic rights of everyone to enjoy a life free of hatred and discrimination do not represent mainstream New Zealand," Mrs Turei says.

"A simple law change allowing official documents to reflect the gender identity of the bearer, as called for by the HRC, is just one way a group of productive citizens can be assisted to live free and fulfilled lives."

The Human Rights Commission also called for better representation of transgender people in decisions which affect them, better legal protection and improved access to health services.

Mrs Turei says that these are basic rights that most people in New Zealand take for granted and which should not be denied to anyone on spurious grounds such as the law currently does.

"The people supporting these discriminatory laws need to give up their fear of difference and step into the sunlight that the rest of New Zealand is enjoying," Mrs Turei says.


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