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Beyer: handled trans debate with 'finesse'

Wed 23 Aug 2006 In: New Zealand Daily News

Labour MP Georgina Beyer denies political pressure led to today's planned withdrawal of her private member's Bill to enshrine human rights protections for transgendered people. Beyer said she and her supporters conducted their campaign with “finesse”, and her Bill was clearly the “catalyst” for debate, which led to yesterday's Crown Law opinion. “I'm happy matters are now clarified with some certainty,” said Beyer, adding that “it is difficult to dispute” the acting Solicitor-General's opinion, given her legal authority on these matters. Beyer will withdraw her Human Rights (Gender Identity) Amendment Bill today, and will seek leave of the House to table the acting Solicitor-General's legal opinion. The acting Solicitor-General, upon analysing relevant overseas case law, found that “there is no reason to suppose that ‘sex discrimination' would be construed narrowly to deprive transgender people of protection under the Human Rights Act.” The legal certainty provided by the opinion will “enhance people's lives” in that people would be more secure in the knowledge that human rights protections will be extended on the basis of gender identity, said Beyer. “And it's not just about our [the transgender] community, but heterosexuals may find the opinion useful also.” Beyer stressed the opinion refers to discrimination based on gender identity – something of importance to all New Zealanders – and not just for the transgendered community. Beyer notes that discrimination based on gender identity is a global issue and one that was highlighted by numerous delegates at the recent International LGBT Conference in Montreal, which she attended. “The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbor also raised this issue in her address to the conference,” said Beyer. “We've achieved our end goal, in terms of the Bill,” says Beyer, “and that's good enough for me.” When asked whether her Parliamentary campaign was a battle, Beyer responded, “It wasn't so much a battle, rather, we conducted ourselves with finesse.”     Ref: (d)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Wednesday, 23rd August 2006 - 12:00pm

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