The Transgender Inquiry’s final report was released two years ago. What progress has been made since then and what further changes are necessary? These questions are asked in the sexual and gender minorities’ chapter in Human Rights in New Zealand 2010. It concludes that there needs to be a continued focus on legal recognition, the rights to education and health, and explicit protection for trans people under the Human Rights Act.
On International Human Rights Day (10 December), the Human Rights Commission launched Human Rights in New Zealand 2010. This report card identifies where New Zealand does well, and where it could do better across the full spectrum of human rights. It lists these four recommendations from the Transgender Inquiry as top priorities for improving the human rights of trans people:
- amending the Human Rights Act to explicitly state that discrimination on the grounds of gender identity is prohibited by the ground of sex
- amending the physical conformation threshold in section 28 of the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Act 1995
- sharing best practice so that trans students’ right to education is fully protected
- building on the Counties Manukau District Health Board project to develop standards of care and treatment pathways for trans people wishing to transition physically.
The Commission is very grateful for the large number of comments received on a draft version of this chapter. Many were incorporated into the final version.
Other highlighted concerns include:
- violence against trans people including bullying and harassment in schools
- the need to raise these human rights issues in all New Zealand country reports to the United Nations.
In addition, the chapter summarises suggestions raised in two roundtables looking at the human rights of intersex people. It concludes there is a need to:
- build understanding about the specific human rights issues faced by intersex people
- use a human rights-based framework to develop best practice for meeting the health needs of intersex people, with a particular focus on infants with intersex medical conditions.
The Commission has selected 30 priority areas from over 100 identified by the research and public consultation process undertaken in preparing Human Rights in New Zealand 2010. Further action in these areas is essential over the next five years.
The priority area for action for sexual and gender minorities is:
- Legal Equality: Completing the legislative steps required for formal legal equality, including rights to found and form a family regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.