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Rainbow Greens Condemn Petition accepted by National MP

The Rainbow Greens of Aotearoa New Zealand are concerned by the decision by National Party MP Jo Hayes to accept a petition calling for the removal of “transgender teaching” from New Zealand Schools.

The premise the petition rests on is one that says the identities and lives of trans people are invalid. It implies that the lives and human rights of trans people shouldn’t be respected, alienating them from our education system and society in general. Our education system rests on evidence, facts, and science; this petition request contradicts those principles in every way.

Education around trans and gender diverse identities is incredibly important, it provides vital insight to students on issues often misunderstood and misrepresented by wider society. More importantly it can provide clarity and validation to students who are questioning their gender identity, putting them at lower risk of negative mental health outcomes. We know that trans people are over represented in statistics around mental health and suicide, so affirming, accepting education is a crucial part of preventing that.

The teaching of issues related to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity & Expression, and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) in New Zealand is inconsistent across the board, and often woefully inadequate. The New Zealand Education System needs to better equip schools and teachers to provide this accurate and affirming education across the board, not do the opposite.

Rainbow Greens Co-Convenor Kate Aschoff says: “I am extremely disappointed that a Member of Parliament would accept such a petition, and allow a harmful level of debate to continue on the lives of trans people. It’s time for our MPs to listen to the community and be educated so they can stop perpetuating harm against us. The trans community are tired of being used as a political football. They exist, they deserve equal human rights and they’re not going anywhere.”

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We criticize such a harmful, transphobic petition and putting the lives of trans people up for debate again. We also call on the Education Select Committee to strengthen the importance of SOGIESC education in schools across the country, and reject any such proposal that would do the opposite.

To our trans whānau: you are loved, you are valid, and we will not let a vocal, international minority win. We cannot allow the minimal protections trans people have under New Zealand law to be eroded, we must continue to look forward and hold the Government to account on trans rights.

Matt Sharpe and Kate Aschoff
Rainbow Greens Co-Convenors

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