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"Self declared" legal sex changes risk women's rights

Lesbian human rights group warns "self declared" legal sex changes risk women's rights.

The recommendation by Select Committee to remove all safety mechanisms from the legal sex change process puts women and girls in danger.

Brett Hudson of the National Party has championed the move to allow people to “self-identify” as the opposite sex without any requirement for medical treatment or demonstrable transition. While this issue is being cast in the media as 'LGBT' legislation, we as Lesbians firmly disagree with it.

This move will make it impossible for females to retain the right to female-only or lesbian-only spaces, services and provisions - as any male can simply declare he is female and have every legal right to use them. This move risks the safety of women in prisons, the continuation of women-only and lesbian-only organisations, and ultimately renders the sex discrimination protections in the Human Rights Act meaningless.

If a fully grown male can be legally recognised as female, then what does the word ‘female’ continue to mean? Does Brett Hudson believe a biological male may ever need a hysterectomy, endometriosis treatment or an emergency c-section to deliver a baby? Presumably not. What does Hudson propose all women have in common that makes us different from men, if not biology?

At present, New Zealand law requires a burden of proof in order to change legal sex. There is a family court process to ensure abusers do not take advantage of the system. A shift to simply filling out a statutory declaration form to change sex with no oversight shows a blatant disregard for women’s human rights.

Because we are a feminist group, the LRAA see the concept of 'Gender Identity' as regressive, sexist and homophobic. Gender is the social stereotypes that are assigned to men and women based on sex.

Identifying with the stereotype (masculinity or femininity) associated with the opposite sex does not make you that sex. By encoding into New Zealand law that legal sex is about which stereotype one identifies with, our politicians are threatening generations of gains by the women's liberation movement.

We call on Parliament to examine the repercussions of this bill and for women, especially Lesbians, to speak out against a bill that threatens our rights. Being a woman isn't about stereotypes. It's about being an adult human female, which is a material reality that cannot be 'identified' into.

It’s 125 years since Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia, Kate Sheppard and thousands of other women fought for women’s rights on the basis of sex. We are continuing their legacy.



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