This anonymous survey is for transgender people who have used a social service, such as a therapist, social worker, or peer support service. We want to hear about how safe, supported, or useful social services are for you.
It takes around 20 minutes to complete
You can find out more and take the survey by clicking the button below.
The NZ Law Commission is examining whether the current wording of the Human Rights Act (1993) adequately protects people who are transgender (including non-binary), and people with innate variations of sex characteristics (including intersex people), and if not, what amendments should be made.
This project is called “Ia Tangata | A Review of the Protections in the Human Rights Act 1993 for people who are transgender, people who are non-binary and people with innate variations of sex characteristics.”
What the Human Rights Act covers
The Human Rights Act is an anti-discrimination law. It seeks to ensure that people in Aotearoa New Zealand are not unfairly subjected to different treatment – for example, when accessing education, employment, housing, goods and services, and public facilities. As well as setting anti-discrimination standards, the Human Rights Act explains how these standards will be monitored and enforced.
Key to the Human Rights Act is section 21, which lists “prohibited grounds of discrimination” (things like sex, religious belief, colour, race, disability and sexual orientation). The Human Rights Act sets out the circumstances in which it is unlawful to treat someone differently and worse than others based on one of those prohibited grounds.
It is not always unlawful to treat someone differently and worse than others based on a prohibited ground. For example:
The Human Rights Act does not cover the way people behave in truly private contexts. The Act generally only applies to private people and organisations when they engage in certain public-facing activities (such as being an employer or landlord).
The Human Rights Act distinguishes between differences in treatment that are justified and differences in treatment that are unjustified through a range of methods. This allows for competing rights and interests to be weighed.
For those who want to learn more about how the Human Rights Act operates, we have prepared a Beginners’ Guide. Te Kāhui Tika Tangata | Human Rights Commission also has information available on its website (tikatangata.org.nz).
– Law Commission, 2023
You can download the Law Commission Beginners’ Guide to the Human Rights Act (HRA) by clicking the button below.
The HRA is broadly considered to include, within the meaning of ‘sex’: transgender people (including non-binary people), and people with innate variations of sex characteristics (including intersex people). However, currently the HRA does not explicitly include any of the above groups. The absence of explicit inclusion may leave room for narrow or discriminatory interpretations.
Discrimination on these bases may already be prohibited by one or more of the current grounds listed in section 21 of the Human Rights Act although this has not yet been considered by a New Zealand court or tribunal. For example, the Government considers that the existing ground of “sex” covers discrimination against people who are transgender, non-binary and/or have innate variations of sex characteristics (although it considers the law could be clearer).
– Law Commission, 2023.
Note that while it “has not yet been considered by a New Zealand court or tribunal”, there was a precedent setting ruling by the Employment Relations Authority in 2016, which accepted that an employer who constructively dismissed a transgender woman for transitioning did so unlawfully.
Find out more and make a submission
There will be an opportunity for the public to submit their views in 2024. It will be important for the Law Commission to hear from transgender people (including non-binary people), people with innate variations of sex characteristics (including intersex people), and our supporters. We will publish more information, things to consider, and our submission during 2023-2024. You can follow our blog in the main menu for updates from us. You can also find out more and subscribe to updates from the Law Commission by clicking the button below.
In Aotearoa, trans people born overseas are usually stuck with the wrong sex marker on their identity documents. The government said they would look into developing a solution, but now it’s been put off indefinitely.
Most transgender asylum seekers, refugees, and many migrants do not have ID with their correct gender marker. This makes it difficult or impossible to access essential everyday services, including things like opening a bank account, and seeing a healthcare provider.
Refugee travel documents are not an acceptable substitute as most services do not recognise these.
Currently, it’s possible to apply to for a “Declaration as to sex” through the Family Court, which goes some of the way toward making identity documents, and accessing services, more equitable. However, that process will be taken away when the new administrative process for NZ birth certificates rolls out in June 2023.
The government said it would do some work to address this disparity, as it’s important that trans people with overseas birth certificates can still access accurate identity documents which they can use in NZ.
However, Department of Internal Affairs has now announced that this work is being deferred, and statements committing to doing this work have been removed from it’s website.
Rainbow refugee-led organisation Rainbow Path has put together a detailed post, outlining the issues as they stand, and what we can do to support this essential work to be done. Rainbow Path is leading the work on this, and we encourage everyone to follow their blog and social media and support their actions.
Today human rights organisations Gender Minorities Aotearoa, InsideOUT Kōaro, and Auckland Pride filed for judicial review in the High Court. Our case follows the Immigration Minister’s decision to allow Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, a known anti-transgender activist, to enter Aotearoa New Zealand. In addition to the judicial review, we are seeking an interim order to prevent Keen-Minshull from entering the country until the judicial review can take place.
Keen-Minshull (also known as Posie Parker) has a long history of organising and participating in anti-transgender rallies in close connection with neo-Nazi organisations, including rallies in Australia last week which broke out in violence.
“As community organisations deeply committed to the welfare of the communities we serve, Gender Minorities Aotearoa, InsideOUT Kōaro, and Auckland Pride believe that Keen-Minshull’s presence in New Zealand poses a significant threat to public order and a risk to public interest. This is outlined under Section 16 of the Immigration Act,” says Ahi Wi-Hongi, Executive Director of Gender Minorities Aotearoa and spokesperson for the groups.
“The facts in this case are clear, and the Minister’s failure to act is putting our communities in danger. We are not opposing freedom of speech, we are opposing the measurable threat to public order and the safety of transgender people.”
Managing Director of InsideOUT Kōaro, Tabby Besley, says “There is no place for transphobia in Aotearoa, and there is no public interest in the abhorrent views espoused by Keen-Minshull”
Executive Director of Auckland Pride, Max Tweedie, says “We are determined to challenge this decision in order to protect the well-being and safety of our trans, non-binary and takatāpui communities in Aotearoa.”
OutLine Aotearoa and RainbowYOUTH are also in support of the action to prevent Keen-Minshull from entering the country.
“As an organisation supporting the mental health of Rainbow communities across Aotearoa, we are concerned for the immediate safety of trans people, as well as the longer term impacts of the stress, fear and anxiety her visit will cause for many of our trans and non-binary whānau.” says OutLine Aotearoa Chief Executive Claire Black.
RainbowYOUTH’s Executive Director Pooja Subramanian said “Now is the time to lead by example that trans and gender diverse young people deserve protection from systems that are meant to support them, and we are calling on the Minister to enact that.”
Gender Minorities Aotearoa, InsideOUT Kōaro, and Auckland Pride will update their websites and social media as the case progresses. In the meantime, the organisations encourage anyone affected by the current events to take care of each other, to take time to focus on wellbeing, and to reach out for support.
“We are aware of protests being organised in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and encourage allies to go along and support trans communities at these. We are also asking allies to support this cause through donations towards legal costs such as filing fees.” Ahi Wi-Hongi says. “While we expect our costs will be minimal, there is always a risk of escalation in taking a legal case, and every penny helps.”
Any surplus funds will be used by the organisations filing the case to continue advocating for the rights and wellbeing of transgender and rainbow communities.
“Shootings at mosques, and other terrorist attacks, do not come suddenly from nowhere. Rallies against human rights attract the worst kinds of extremists, and absolutely foster hatred and incite violence. We must take reasonable steps to prevent this, and we believe that’s all we’re asking for.”
This page is about our online peer-to-peer infoshare group, Transgender and intersex NZ. If you would like to join the group, please read the rules booklet first, then click the button to go to the group and answer the joining questions.