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Supporting all the colours of the rainbow

Written By: - Date published: 1:00 pm, August 27th, 2014 - 69 comments
Categories: election 2014, human rights, identity, labour - Tags: , , , ,

[Content note: this post deals with issues around gender, transphobia and gender policing. Stay safe.]

In utter defiance of the Prime Minister’s insistence that the left doesn’t want to have a policy debate, Labour has continued to release policies, and yesterday’s was rainbow-coloured.

But first, let me tell you a story.

A friend of mine is non-binary – they don’t fit into society’s strict categories of “man” or “woman”. (They gave me permission to talk about them in this post but I will not be naming them for reasons that should be obvious after Dirty Politics.)

They deal with a lot of anxiety just in day-to-day life. Every time they meet a new person, they have to have the conversation about their name and the pronouns they use (“they” and “their”, if it weren’t obvious yet), knowing that with most people, at best they’ll get a weird look. A step back from that they’ll get ignored and misgendered, because a total stranger feels entitled to make that decision for them. Or they’ll be abused – verbally, or physically.

My friend is going to be travelling internationally soon, and their only option is to travel on a passport which labels them as an M or an F – the gender they were assigned as a baby. Not a gender which necessarily “matches” the assumptions people make about them based on their name, how they look, how they dress, or what their voice sounds like. And my friend is, in their words, terrified by the very real possibilities of harassment, insult, or violence they might face at every step of the journey where someone in a position of power looks at their passport or pats down their body.

To me, it’s just bizarre to make a person go through all that hassle and anxiety and potential threat just because our paperwork only gives them two tick-boxes to choose between (and generally binds them to a “choice” made long before they had any say in the matter).

And that’s why Labour’s Rainbow Policy is so important. Although it covers a range of strategies to support GLBTI people – increased health funding, reforming our adoption system, addressing youth mental health and strengthening our human rights legislation – of course it’s the “three gender options on a passport” policy which gets all the media coverage.

That may seem minor to people who never have to deal with this kind of structural, ubiquitous prejudice, and undoubtedly it will be slammed as a “distraction” from the “real issues that matter to people” (but let’s consider who we’re defining as “people” when we say that).

But in a way, it is minor. It’s a tick-box on a form. And yet by making a tiny tweak to a bit of paperwork we can take a bit of stress out of people’s lives. We can make it clear that their lives have values, we can reaffirm that all people deserve to live with dignity and respect, we can stand tall as a country which doesn’t keep harming people when the fix is so little trouble to us.

Why would we not do that?

(PS. The Greens also have an impressive sexual identity and orientation policy.)

[Moderation note: any comments which question, challenge or insult any individual’s gender, gender identity, pronoun preference or right to exist will not be published and repeat offenders will be banned for a week.]

69 comments on “Supporting all the colours of the rainbow ”

  1. Lead bow 1

    I’d find it hard to invent a matter of greater triviality to be the subject of political policy making.

    oh, wait a minute. Has Labour yet annouced its policy on which end of our boiled egg we should crack open?

    Gender is a matter of fact, not politics. Recognising that is a matter of accepting or rejecting reality. So Labour and the Greens have accepted the reality. Whoopee. I know that some of the really barking-mad on the right will say that God made you Adam or Eve with the appropriate inclinations, and will beat to death with their Bibles anything that doesn’t fit that particular world view (yes Colin, I’m looking at you) but I can’t say I’ve noticed any strong manifestations of it in the National Party and very much doubt it would taint itself by letting itself be associated with such a stance.

    So this is really a fight with bureaucratic inertia – at getting a Minister’s attention to address a legitimate issue affecting a minority which might have issues of cost and practicality, especially if we’re talking Internationally, but not politics.

    [Stephanie: Your comment was initially trashed for looking trollish. I have now restored it but caution against trivialising this issue. As the post states, this particular part of the policy is, in bureaucratic terms, a minor change, but it has tremendously important impacts on many people’s lives.]

  2. Lead bow 2

    Stephanie:

    If I gave the impression that I regard the issue as trivial it was bad writing for which I apologise. I don’t regard it as trivial and while it doesn’t affect me personally I can imagine it could deeply affect others.

    My inadequate attempt at a post was to object to the politicisation of the matter. How can one’s political views, rabid left to raging tory, have a bearing on this? If anything it’s a religious thing, and in these days only of interest towards the extremes of the religious nut-house to boot, and while in my experience the Right appeals more to the religious was there anyone more suited to Communism than Jesus Himself?

    Yes, it’s great the Labour Party and the Greens have expressed a view on this but it should be small-print, motherhood and apple-pie stuff in the manifesto, beyond debate. I don’t know if National, or even ACT or the Conservatives, have published any policy on this but I personally wouldn’t take the fact they haven’t to mean they want to take any other view of the issue than this – I’ve certainly never heard any hint of it. To my mind its the kind of thing that reaches a Minister’s desk in a paper and upon which a decision is reached entirely void of any ‘political’ context, because I simply cannot see any way in which one’s ‘political’ views are relevant. Religious, yes; practical, yes; even “What does the Man on the Clapham Omnibus think”, yes; but not political.

    So yes, I am slamming this as a distraction – its an attempt to set up a beauty contest between parties that has no relevance in a political competition.

    • This policy is one of a huge number of policies which Labour has released. I have chosen to post on it because, despite the media spin, it is a serious issue worthy of consideration.

      Just because it seems like common sense to you doesn’t mean it’s going to be an easy win for non-binary people, especially given the strength of our conservative lobby. It’s also insulting to be so dismissive of the huge effort people have put in to promoting and lobbying on this issue over the years – as though the only “problem” is that no Minister has gone “oh, whoops, I forgot to treat GLBTI people equally, my bad.”

    • karol 2.2

      Actually, this is a very significant issue that has wide reaching impact.

      How can this be non-political, when it touches on something very basic to our social structure, and which rarely gets challenged?

      At the hardest edge, it has an extreme impact on the lives of those who cannot identify as male or female.

      But it also has an impact on all our lives. our society is strongly gender-policed from cradle to grave. Dividing people into male and female is the basis of all administrative form filling, from birth to death certificates, and inbetween in things like passports, etc.

      I would but myself at a softer position of gender binary dissonance. I see myself as female, but the whole social structure and system of communication works to make an extreme division between male and female behaviours that I have always found it difficult to connect with.

      These days I find it at its most extreme when buying clothes – always a chore for me. Marketers put a lot of effort into marking clothes as “feminine” and “masculine”. I often prefer the male styles of clothing (less frills, flimsy material, body displaying cuts, etc). But men’s clothes are often not cut to suit my body shape – often can just be too big for me. I could go on at length.

      I think there’s a helluva lot of people who would find their lives a little less stressful if we did away with the strong gender binary they we are all pressured to conform to. Enabling people to officially identify as a third gender will help remove some of that stress for a lot of people.

      • RedLogix 2.2.1

        But men’s clothes are often not cut to suit my body shape – often can just be too big for me. I could go on at length.

        Something similar happens in the opposite direction to. Conventional men’s clothing can be desperately narrow and limited.

        Fortunately Jan Cameron came along and these days I’m pretty much a walking advert for her old outfit Katmandu. Never worn a pair of jeans in my life.

        Oh and otherwise everything else you said.

        • NickS 2.2.1.1

          Sadly though Macpac’s lost the plot on men’s sizes, their XXL is more like an XL for much most of their clothing lines now bar the more tramping/outdoors lines 🙁 I’d have to completely give up biking and tramping to loose enough muscle mass to fit them…

      • Tom Jackson 2.2.2

        At the hardest edge, it has an extreme impact on the lives of those who cannot identify as male or female.

        How many people is that? I’m not joking about it here, because this is something we’ve had to deal with in my family (although “deal with” is probably too strong, since nobody was really that bothered about it). As far as I am aware, transgender people are allowed to have a NZ passport in their preferred gender, and once you take most of them out of the mix, how many people are actually left? The number must be quite small.

        • karol 2.2.2.1

          So pick on one part of my comment and ignore the context and main point?

          • Tom Jackson 2.2.2.1.1

            It could be extended to the rest. How many people are we talking about here? I find myself as someone whose needs aren’t well served by our society, but that would go for anyone with specific needs are only shared by a small number of people.

            Gay rights has in part been a successful movement because there are an awful lot of gay people.

            • karol 2.2.2.1.1.1

              See my other comment about how it actually impacts on a lot of people – including many gay people.

              • That’s not answering the question I asked. We have a reasonably good idea of the incidence of homosexuality and of transgenderism, the former being relatively common and the latter very rare.

                • Given that we’re talking about people who currently have no way to be officially counted (the Census is even more restrictive as it only allows people who pick “F” to answer the question about giving birth) I consider your question entirely insincere and driven only by the need to say “you’re too small a minority so we shouldn’t care about you.”

                • karol

                  No. You keep ignoring the point I made, TJ. You keep avoiding it.

                  I recall, way back in the late 70s or early 80s in London, when I was at a Women’s Centre. One of the lesbians I knew arrived, having just walked through the centre of London. She had had an epiphany, because at that time, lesbian and gays were dismissed as a minority who had little political significance.

                  She said: “Are we really a minority? When you consider all the people who are gay, bisexual, have had a small number of same sex experiences, but are largely hetoerosexual, etc, etc…. are we really such a tiny minority?”

                  Snd then add all the people with family members who have LGBT people in them.

                  You are spinning the same line as people used back then to dismiss gay people – too small a minority to be politically significant.

                  I have just been telling you that there are many of us…. probably also in your family, who are damaged by the way society is so stringently organised around a rigid and unrealistic binary.

                  You keep ignoring and diverting from that point, and keep trying to narrow the topic down to something you feel you can dismiss.

              • weka

                But even if it is a small number, so what? It’s apparently a minor administrative change.

        • Tracey 2.2.2.2

          as far as I am aware most peope have to produce a legal document to get a passport? A birth certificate would state gender as would a marriage cert or civil union etc If you put a gender different to that document my guess, and that is all it is, is that IA would default to tge legal document?

      • Lead Bow 2.2.3

        “How can this be non-political, when it touches on something very basic to our social structure, and which rarely gets challenged?” – karol

        I’m arguing it’s non-political because it doesn’t fit anywhere on the political spectrum. Its a religious-in-the-broadest-sense, even existentialist matter.

        To me this blog is just the same as WhaleOil putting one up pointing out that the Nats have published a policy in support of motherhood and apple pie, and because Labour hasn’t published such a policy they must be against motherhood and apple pie. It’s setting up a false beauty contest between parties.

        • karol 2.2.3.1

          Oh. You mean it’s not political in a left-right sense?

          That’s a very narrow way of looking at it.

          It doesn’t matter if all parties agree with it. It is still a political issue, and impacts on legislation.

          Let’s see if the Nats, Conservatives and NZ First agree with the Labour (and Greens) policies on this issue?!

          • weka 2.2.3.1.1

            I can’t see how it can’t be party political. The left is generally more socially progressive than the right, although I can’t see NACT having a problem with this other than the PC gone made shit.

          • Lead Bow 2.2.3.1.2

            “Oh. You mean it’s not political in a left-right sense?
            That’s a very narrow way of looking at it.” – karol.

            With respect that’s the way you’re casting it by using a political blog to applaud the adoption of it by a particular political party.

            “It doesn’t matter if all parties agree with it. It is still a political issue,” – karol

            Which makes motherhood and apple-pie a political issue, too.

            “and impacts on legislation.” – karol

            Possibly. If time in the calendar can be made for it. By adopting ‘it’ as a policy Labour MIGHT give legislation on the matter a higher priority, which means something else likely just as important to its promoters will have to be deferred. But that’s politics for you.

            • karol 2.2.3.1.2.1

              Rubbish. mother hood and apple pie is not equivalent to the deep way society is structured around a gender binary.

              Motherhood and apple pie is a metaphor for particular social attitude and set of values. It can’t be changed by legislation.

              • Lead Bow

                “Motherhood and apple pie is a metaphor for particular social attitude and set of values. It can’t be changed by legislation.” – karol

                I would say exactly the same about GLBTI issues. They are social attitudes and values which can’t be changed by legislation.

                But you’re still missing my point. “Politics (from Greek: πολιτικός politikos, meaning “of, for, or relating to citizens”) is the practice and theory of influencing other people on a global, civic or individual level.” (Wikipedia). If all parties agree with it as you claim, who is there to influence and who does the influencing? If all agree, where’s the politics?

                “It’s also insulting to be so dismissive of the huge effort people have put in to promoting and lobbying on this issue over the years – as though the only “problem” is that no Minister has gone “oh, whoops, I forgot to treat GLBTI people equally, my bad.” – Stephanie Rogers

                OK, if the problem isn’t just that the various Ministers have simply forgotten GLBTI people when drawing up their policies, what is the problem? And more to the point under discussion, is it a political problem? Do Ministers choose to ignore GLBTI people for fear recognising them will lose the Government votes at the next election?
                Do Ministers in Right-wing Governments ignore GLBTI issues because GLBTI people offend their political sensibilities the way, say, Communists might? Do Ministers in Right-wing Governments oppress and persecute GLBTI people hoping to to get them to reform their erroneous ways like the Catholic Church and homosexuals? If you’ve any evidence they do then yes, it is a political problem which needs a political solution. But lacking that I suggest its simply a bureaucratic one.

                It’s certainly not my intention to insult GLBTI people or anyone else and I wish them well in their fight for recognition but (and not to diminish it) I think that’s all it is – a fight to get cautious, invariably dull and inept Ministers of all political colours with more than enough on their plates dealing with the day-to-day paperwork of their offices to pick this particular matter out of the too-hard basket and sort it out.

                Hopefully Labour and the Greens actually making this formal policy will stir the Nats etc into saying “us too” and doing likewise, and perhaps having formal policy declarations will help those fighting this matter to arm-twist a Minister of either colour to pull it out of the too-hard basket and get into it, but presenting it as a political matter as the author of this article does I suggest is misleading.

                • I’m not going to give you a 101 on civil rights and why bigotry exists in society, or why it’s important for marginalized people to get legal and bureaucratic recognition as part of the process of society’s attitudes changing.

                  You are continuing to be insulting by playing dumb, both about why this policy exists, why it’s a political issue, and why the National Party are most assuredly not going to say “us too” when the Conservatives are polling 4.6%.

                  • Lead Bow

                    [Stephanie: Deleted for persisting in missing the point and trying a roundabout Godwin argument.]

                    • Lead Bow

                      [Stephanie: Banned for a week for ignoring moderator warnings and playing stupid “I bet you don’t publish this comment” troll games.]

      • NickS 2.2.4

        +1

        (and I’m all out of brain now otherwise I’d add more, derp)

    • Tracey 2.3

      genuine question… Are you saying wait til elected as govt, then just introduce it as part of other legislative changes not flagged as policy?

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    Human gender is not as black and white (binary) as some might wish it to be. By genetic and or psychological makeup many people are on a gradated scale of gender. Family and friends know the travails sometimes involved.

    If a small clerical correction as taxing as changing donor/non donor or eye colour on various documents makes life easier for intersex people, do it.

    • I do have to note that this change doesn’t just affect people who are intersex – people can be genderqueer, gender fluid or third gender in many circumstances.

      • Rolf 3.1.1

        I agree with you, and to read the raging debate in EU, it also include “straight” people who clearly define themselves as “man or “woman” but still want to be called “it” in some way, or use a genderless title. Call me old fashion or “passed the use by date”, but I still liked the old simple Mr. Miss. or Mrs.

        • Do you want cookies? Your personal preferences about honorifics (which fails to include academic titles, medical titles, religious titles, non-European cultural titles, and Ms) are your personal preferences. Your choice for yourself is just as worthy of consideration as everyone’s, including those who aren’t on the gender binary, and you have no right to demand others bend to suit you.

          Using “it” is incredibly demeaning to non-binary people unless they specifically choose those pronouns.

  4. They allow this in Australia, so I can’t see any real problem in allowing it.

  5. adam 5

    What I can’t understand is why it hasn’t changed already? Could it not just be done, by a request from the Attorney General?

    I thought neo-liberalism was about removing state imposed obstacles from people lives? So gosh darn it, neo-liberalism lied again.

    I know there are theological issues, with some Christians. But, those arguments are, and should be, outside of the state.

    This long drawn out debate over making peoples lives simpler, is just getting beyond a joke. We should just change the dam passport – or maybe just get rid of them all together – passports and governmental i.d.

    • Even if that’s the case (and I’m not sure of the legal situation) it obviously requires the Attorney-General to make that request. And despite the insistence by Lead Bow that this isn’t a political issue, it seems one side of the House is usually a lot more proactive on these issues than the other.

  6. rain33 6

    Labour…would you please stop giving me reasons not to vote for you!

    …..and I’m not talking about this policy. I am talking about the fact you thought, for even a moment, that it would be appropriate to censor the first comment by Lead Bow. Yes..yes..yes…you changed your mind and decided to ‘allow’ it….how generous. There was nothing in that comment that looks at all ‘trollish’ to me. I am constantly swinging between Labour and Green, and every time I think I am ‘suring’ up my decision, you do something to make me to reconsider.

    I also take exception to the moderators comment…’any comments that question or challenge….repeat offenders will be banned for a week’. What the heck?? You are displaying an extremely intolerant temperament, the very thing you are trying to discourage, I do not like it at all. Although I too have little time for unnecessarily nasty comments, people do have a right to ‘challenge’ and ‘question’.

    [lprent: We aren’t Labour. Read the policy. Try that troll tactic again and I will boot you off the site.

    We have to moderate thousands of comments a week. It is a hard skill. But having idiots like you who are too impolite and ignorant to read the local rules is a clear sign of a fool who can’t argue because they are too busy shouting to observe.

    In other words just another fuckwit troll. Don’t demand. You are a guest. You do not make the rules for our site. ]

    • I make no apologies for being intolerant of bigoted hate-speech which contributes to the marginalization and active violence against people who don’t fit society’s rules about gender and heterosexuality.

      Nobody has the “right” to challenge a personal’s choice of pronouns for themselves, a name for themselves, or the right to live their lives with dignity and basic respect from other human beings. But it’s cute how you decided to edit down my comment to make it look like I was banning any discussion whatsoever. Troll, I name thee. Begone.

  7. AmaKiwi 7

    Cost Benefit Analysis

    How many votes will this cost Labour and how many will it gain them?

    It will cost votes and gain NONE.

    As National has repeatedly demonstrated, STFU about any policies likely to piss voters off. Then implement them once you have won the election.

    Cost Benefit Analysis: This announcement was politically naive and destructive, irrespective of the merits of the proposal.

    • That’s a very puzzling position given that marriage equality – another one of these pesky “doesn’t affect anyone, just going to piss off voters” policies – absolutely romped through our Parliament with an 80 to 40 majority.

      It’s weird how often Labour takes a strong ethical stand on an issue, makes its case, wins a solid victory, and then we all sit around going “oh no the voters hate that” the next time it happens.

      • AmaKiwi 7.1.1

        You forget that marriage equality infuriated some diehard Labour supporters in the Pacific Island community.

        My question is, “Will having an “X” on my passport instead of an “F” or “M” win votes?” I don’t think so. I say it can be done AFTER the election, but ONLY if Labour/Green are the government.

        The three cardinal rules of politics are:

        1. Get elected.
        2. Get elected.
        3. Get elected.
        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1

          You forget that marriage equality infuriated some diehard Labour supporters in the Pacific Island community.

          Certain parts of the Left took that seriously, others weren’t at all concerned about that.

          My question is, “Will having an “X” on my passport instead of an “F” or “M” win votes?” I don’t think so.

          Good point. Who will it win votes from? Nowhere that I can see.

          It will also strengthen the hand of the Conservatives as people drip away from National. An extra 1% and the Conservatives may well cross over the 5% threshold. But then again, certain parts of the Left feel like the point must be made, regardless of any other considerations.

          • Stephanie Rodgers 7.1.1.1.1

            You know what else loses votes? Raising taxes on the wealthy. Increasing benefits to survivable levels. The living wage.

            Given your constant assertions that the only viable way forward is the complete overhaul of all current economic systems, it’s fascinating how suddenly you care about winning votes when it involves continuing to oppress minority groups.

            (And given Labours, and specifically Louisa Wall’s, enduring popularity in the Pasifika community it seems like “certain parts of the Left” are a bit desperate to cling to racist stereotypes to justify their own bigotry.)

            • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1.1.1

              You know what else loses votes? Raising taxes on the wealthy. Increasing benefits to survivable levels. The living wage.

              It’s interesting that you claim to hold Labour values yet hold the view that raising taxes, raising benefits and raising income levels are vote losers.

              Do you really believe that?

              You do know that raising taxes on the 5% and then flowing the economic benefits through to communities in terms of raising benefit levels, increasing employment and wages will win votes, don’t you? Lots and lots of votes. It’ll also bring back many non-voters who have given up on Labour and on politics in general.

              But here is the problem. Labour isn’t raising taxes on the 5% nor on corporations. It’s not raising benefit levels. It will move to a living wage – eventually, perhaps by 2017 or 2018.

              So it’s fascinating that you use rather desperate and invalid examples which actually make my point. These are the very things which AREN’T being done.

              Now in terms of counting votes, please answer the question posed: where will this new passport policy win votes from.

              • There’s some nice spin going on in your comment, CV, maybe you should try Ultimate Frisbee.

                I can have Labour values and still recognise that when Labour says they’re going to raise taxes, even though that will have huge benefits to our society, it loses votes. Because National keeps getting elected on the promises of tax cuts. It’s not rocket science.

                This new policy could win votes from any number of people: people who have voted Green because they didn’t like Labour’s more conservative MPs making bigoted statements; people who decided not to vote at all last election because they didn’t think Labour would be any different from another term of National.

                Of course, you’re wilfully missing the key point: some things are more important than winning votes. You’re also wrong, as proven by the fact Labour consistently failed to gain ground by mimicking John Key in pursuit of a share of his popularity. At the end of the day, it’s clear you just don’t like queer people. Why not be honest about it?

                • Te Reo Putake

                  “At the end of the day, it’s clear you just don’t like queer people. Why not be honest about it?”

                  I’m pretty sure CV is extremely gay friendly, Stephanie. That comment is uncalled for.

                  • I can only judge him by what he’s saying on this thread, and he seems entirely happy to throw gay people (along with women) under the bus in pursuit of, I can only assume, straight cis men’s votes. Which has never been a winning strategy for the left.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Well, surely you must have read his many other comments down the years, none of which were anti-gay. CV is not a homophobe. And re-reading his comments above, I still think you’ve leapt to an unwarranted conclusion. Good as policy like this is, it actually does have the potential to be counter productive at election time. Look at the damage done by an impromptu apology a few weeks ago. That was also a minor thing, in its way, but it’s had a disproportionate and negative effect.

                    • See my response to weka. If CV doesn’t want people to assume he has an issue with women and gay people, he’s perfectly free to stop insisting that their rights and dignity should be sacrificed.

                    • weka

                      I think that is true about his strategy, but my impression is that it comes from his analysis of politics in general, and his antipathy for identity politics specifically because of how he perceived they affect the left (incorrectly IMO), but I also wouldn’t have picked him as someone who dislikes queer people.

                    • You can contribute to prejudice and hatred without directly attacking individuals. Trying to dismiss this policy on the grounds it doesn’t win votes, when at the same time you often can’t move for CV’s insisting that Labour should adopt radical, unorthodox economic policies, says very plainly that the issues facing GLBTI people are not worthy of discussion and should be sacrificed. That is damaging, and contributes to the oppression of GLBTI people.

                      And anyone who cites “oh Pasifika people hate the gays so I’m just being practical” as an argument doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt from me.

                    • weka

                      I agree to an extent, and I think CV is completely wrong in his antipathy towards identity politics as a strategy. But if we’re going to have nuanced analysis of oppression then I think it works better to have more nuance in critique, and saying that CV obviously dislikes queers struck me as off. I think it’s more that he thinks their needs are less important at this time. I agree that this has significant negative impacts on those people and communities.

                      “And anyone who cites “oh Pasifika people hate the gays so I’m just being practical” as an argument doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt from me.”

                      Did CV say that?

                    • “I think it’s more that he thinks their needs are less important at this time all the time.”

                      FIFY.

                      “Did CV say that?”

                      AmaKiwi said that, and CV made snide comments about how “some” in the Left weren’t “concerned” about it. Given his history of accusing anyone who tries to talk about social justice issues of being out of touch, his meaning is clear.

                    • weka

                      I thought everyone else’s needs would get looked after the revolution.

    • NickS 7.2

      [citation needed] on the whole “costs votes” thing, because a causal look at the history of human rights in NZ rather strongly suggests that generally there’s no electoral backlash for advancing human rights. Bar the rights of children vis using physical assault as punishment, but then again, apparently kids don’t deserve the same basic set of rights as adults because “tradition”…

      Also, why the flaming fuckballs should Labour or the Green’s stoop to National’s dishonest bullshit tactics of slipping in stuff with high political cost post elections?

  8. rain33 8

    Gee, thanks for the response. Nice to know you are such an open minded welcoming group. For your information, I visit this site often and post the occasional comment. I’m a paid-up member of the Labour Party and was merely offering my opinion. I was not abusive, did not swear and did not denigrate anyone else. Quite frankly…I’m at a loss as to how to respond to your comments?!

    “…But having idiots like you who are too impolite and ignorant to read the local rules is a clear sign of a fool who can’t argue because they are too busy shouting to observe.

    In other words just another fuckwit troll. Don’t demand. You are a guest. You do not make the rules for our sit”e

    [Stephanie: No one is impressed by your commenting cred. You misrepresented this site as a mouthpiece of Labour, you misquoted my post to play a tired old line about censorship. Take a week off.]

  9. Stiff little finger 9

    Have anyone asked the “general public” what they think of this issue or is it something the left will do via stealth? Remember the govt work for the people not just a vocal minority?

    • Did you miss the part where this is a policy openly published on their website, reported by the media, and covered on a major blog site on which you are commenting?

      PS. GLBTI people are also “people”.

  10. And my friend is, in their words, terrified by the very real possibilities of harassment, insult, or violence they might face at every step of the journey where someone in a position of power looks at their passport…

    Which is a terrible thing, but it’s not obvious that having a passport that describes their sex as “Other” would make such harrassment less likely – if anything, it might make it more likely.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      [Stephanie: Your “concern” could very easily be read as intimidating, and given I’ve seen you pull similar stunts on Twitter, I am not publishing your comment.]

    • In the first instance, I’m going to take their word for it over your assumptions. It is their life, after all.

      This change works in multiple ways. First, it sends a strong signal that people’s different identities are officially recognised – so prejudice against them is harder to sweep under the carpet. Secondly, it makes people more aware of the issue beforehand, so people like my friend aren’t perpetually met with shock at the notion of their existence or doing 101-level explanations to every border official they meet. Thirdly, in an era of incredibly heightened surveillance and paranoia about travel, it prevents issues of people being accused of lying or using forged documents.

      Travel is stressful enough when all your paperwork’s “in order”.

      • Psycho Milt 10.2.1

        I take your point re preventing accusations of lying or using forged documents, hadn’t considered that one.

      • weka 10.2.2

        I think also that the more people are made aware of gender issues, the less they become a big deal. When the passports change, the culture will change in those agencies that deal with passports. That alone is awesome.

  11. Tim Holmes 11

    As a frequently travelling person, my question is, what will this achieve? Apart from making things real uncomfortable for anyone on a ?/T/whatever passport.

    I’m your classic RWNJ, but I’m n the camp that says whatever in your bedroom. But a whole bunch of the world isn’t into this

    • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1

      a whole bunch of the world isn’t into this

      Will the rest of the world’s right wing bigotry be encouraged by official recognition of this gender status? What message does it send that New Zealand recognises all its citizens?

      I suppose we can expect a declaration of war from the IS.

    • Your concern is noted. But guess what? I trust the people who are actually affected by this more than I trust someone who pretends to be tolerant of others as long as he never has to acknowledge their existence.

  12. kiwi_guy 12

    [Stephanie: Deleted for homophobic concern-trolling.]

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