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Backgrounder: SOP 432- Submissions

Thu 1 May 2014 In: Comment View at Wayback View at NDHA

Weirdly, the Christian Right seems to be unaware of the existence of SOP 432, Louisa Wall's amendment to the Human Rights Act 1993 to include gender identity (pregnancy and childbirth) under the heading of gender. Either that, or it's ignoring it. In any case, I've included references to the necessary legislation before the Government Administration select committee and a link to SOP 432 below. SOP 432 reads: This Supplementary Order Paper would insert a new Part 10A into the Statutes Amendment Bill (No 4) amending section 21(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1993. The amendment to section 21(1)(a) clarifies that sex discrimination includes gender identity. This is in accordance with the opinion of the Acting Solicitor-General dated 2 August 2006 and the National report to the United Nations Human Rights Council Working Group Universal Periodic Review presented by the Minister of Justice on 27 January 2014 that stated in paragraph 66: “The Government's view is that discrimination on the grounds of gender identity is already prohibited under the Human Rights Act as sex discrimination.” What might you note in the context of your submission? Canadian LGBT rights organisation Egale provided this useful reference to the consequences of transphobic discrimination in Canada: We recognize the violence and discrimination faced by the trans/transsexual/transgender/ intersex/two-spirit/gender variant (“trans”) community in Canada. In a recent nationwide survey, 74% of transgender youth reported experiencing verbal harassment in school, and 37% reported experiencing physical violence. Transgender individuals in Ontario face unemployment over three times the national rate and many more are underemployed. As a result of discrimination and bullying, the trans community faces high rates of mental health issues. Rates of depression are as high as two-thirds; 77% of transgender individuals in Ontario report having considered suicide, and 43% have attempted suicide at least once. The letter was signed by a range of HIV/AIDS organisations, Canadian trade unions, Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Oxfam, teachers unions, professional organisations for social workers and nurses, feminist, LGBT, disability rights groups, Reform Jewish and liberal Christian religious congregations, suicide prevention groups, reproductive and sexual health groups. A full list is affixed to this article as a pdf. If you have contacts with New Zealand counterparts to the above organisations and they are willing to assist, enlist their support in providing submissions. Allyson Hamblett has already done so in her own context. LGBT rights organisations, the AIDS Foundation and New Zealand women's health organisations should certainly do so. A link to Bill C-279's text is linked to below, which includes links to significant Canadian House of Commons and Senate speeches on the legislation in question. The (US) National Centre for Transgender Equality has many useful resources on its website, but one particularly good one is its Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (2011). This invaluable document covers key issues of concern to transgender communities such as harassment and discrimination in education, employment discrimination and harassment, housing and accommodation discrimination, official document reconciliation difficulties, healthcare access discrimination and correctional facility discrimination. Although much of the evidence cited applies to the United States and also makes harrowing reading, it also highlights the serious nature of structural and systemic transphobic discrimination on the lives and health of transwomen and transmen. According to the United States Transgender Law Project, the following US states prohibit gender identity discrimination- California, Connecticut, Colorado, Massachusetts, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington DC and Washington state. Internationally, Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Malta, Croatia, Estonia, Sweden, Albania, Kosovo, South Africa, Cyprus, Serbia, the Netherlands, Israel, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Montenegro all ban gender identity discrimination. As for Australia, all Australia jurisdictions, from the federal government to all Australian states, the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory, have trans-inclusive antidiscrimination laws. In addition to Bill C-279, trans-inclusive Canadian antidiscrimination laws also exist in the Northwest Territories, Manitoba and Ontario. Finally, one does wish that Family First would stop using the term "bathroom bills" to trivialise and derogate trans-inclusive antidiscrimination laws. In Taiwan, there has already been one case reported at the National Taiwan University where its gender-inflexible ablutionary facility policies resulted in the tragic death of a transperson from uremic poisoning caused by retained urine and resultant genitourinal infection. I see Bob McCoskrie evidently finds the term suitable for cheap transphobic "humour." When peoples lives are at stake, I most certainly do not. Recommended: Statutes Amendment Act (No 4) 2014: . SOP 432: Egale: Civil Society Statement in Support of Bill C-279: Text: Bill C-279: Politics and religion commentator Craig Young - 1st May 2014    

Credit: Politics and religion commentator Craig Young

First published: Thursday, 1st May 2014 - 12:35pm

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