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Saturday, November 05, 2005

Beyer withdrew gender bill herself

MP Georgina Beyer’s Gender Identity Bill has not been dumped, says the MP, and the office of the Deputy Prime Minister says its future is entirely up to her.

Reports of the bill’s demise at the hands of the Labour Party hierarchy last weekend in the Sunday Star-Times appear to have been premature. Beyer says she’s written to the newspaper to clarify the situation. “At no time did Helen Clark or Michael Cullen ask me to withdraw the bill,” Beyer told

Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen’s office confirmed that Beyer’s bill forms part of a reinstatement motion that will carry over all pending bills from the last Parliament into the current one.

However, Beyer herself has decided to withdraw it on the basis that she doesn’t think it is necessary. She says the drawing of her bill from the private members ballot earlier this year preceded the release of the Human Rights Commission’s National Plan of Action, which addresses quite strongly issues around discrimination against transgendered people.

“Every time a trasngender issue has come before the Human Rights Commission in the past it has been resolved before it has ever reached a court,” says Beyer. “So as yet there is no court ruling to suggest that we are discriminated against. I will assume until I see otherwise that we are included in the Human Rights Act protections.”

Ironically, Beyer’s reasons for withdrawing the bill coincide with the reasons why Wayne Mapp, the National Party’s “PC eradicator”, didn’t support it in the first place. He told he didn’t think it was necessary, as no evidence existed to suggest that “serious discrimination” against transgender people was occurring.

“Precisely, which is why I’ve done what I have done,” Beyer agrees. “For the same reason, Larry Baldock’s Marriage Amendment Bill was not necessary. It is already understood that marriage is between a man and a woman, just as from what we know to date, transgender people are protected under the Human Rights Act.”

In addition, Beyer says support in the new Parliament for socially progressive legislation has been reduced, and she feels no need to drag the glbt community through an acrimonious public debate. “The mandate from the voters was quite clear. They wanted a more conservative government, and I would have no support whatsoever to get this bill through even a first reading.”

At any rate, she says, it was never her intention to create a special new category for transgendered and intersexed people under the Human Rights Act. “That would be an extreme move, we should just be included under sexual orientation. But I am now assured that we are protected – so I suggest everyone go and check it out.”

Ref: (c)


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