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Appalling ignorance over transgender issues

Media Release

31 October 2005

Appalling ignorance over transgender issues

Supporting the basic human rights of transgender and intersex people has nothing to do with political correctness and Wayne Mapp’s remarks over the dumped gender identity bill are just another glaring example of intolerance, PPTA president Debbie Te Whaiti said today.

“Clearly it’s time Wayne Mapp got himself educated about transgender issues because his comments show a shocking level of ignorance about them.

“The medical evidence is clear that transgender sexual orientation is not a choice at all and it’s almost always hugely challenging for adolescents and their families to come to terms with.”

Te Whaiti said the Ministry of Education and Education Review Office required schools to cater for diversity and that didn’t mean solely ethnic or cultural diversity but also sexual diversity.

“Discrimination against transgender people is a serious issue, and one that many schools are grappling with.”

Through its Safe Schools Taskforce PPTA has produced guidelines for schools on affirming the diversity of sexualities in the school community.

“A school that discriminates against staff or students because of sexual orientation or gender identity, or fails to take reasonable steps to prevent harassment of pupils perceived to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is in breach of the Human Rights Act.

“Affirming diversity is a fundamental value that must underpin the culture of a school, because without it, conflict is inevitable and a school is no longer a safe and affirming place for all members of its community.

“Likewise, society is measured by how it treats its most vulnerable members.

“Our laws should uphold the rights of all New Zealanders, including our most vulnerable. New Zealand will be a richer more tolerant and more inclusive society when they do.”

ENDS

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