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New Zealand seeks to ban conversion therapy

Justice Minister Kris Faafoi introduced bill on Friday

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New Zealand flag (By Takuta via Flickr)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A New Zealand lawmaker has introduced a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy in the country.

Justice Minister Kris Faafoi, who is a member of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Labor Party, on Friday introduced the Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill.

“Conversion practices have no place in modern New Zealand,” said Faafoi in a statement that announced the bill’s introduction. “They are based on the false belief that any person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression is broken and in need of fixing.”

“Health professionals, religious leaders and human rights advocates here and overseas have spoken out against these practices as harmful and having the potential to perpetuate prejudice, discrimination and abuse towards members of rainbow communities,” added Faafoi.

The bill would make it an “offense to perform conversion practices on anyone — irrespective of age — where the practices have caused serious harm, and would carry up to five years imprisonment.” The bill would also make it “an offense to perform conversion practices on a child or young person aged under 18, or on someone with impaired decision-making capacity” and anyone who practices them could face up to three years in prison.

Conversion therapy survivors could also file complaints with New Zealand’s Human Rights Commission and Human Rights Review Tribunal.

Rainbow Youth, an LGBTQ rights group in New Zealand, welcomed the bill.

“We’re excited about this step to safeguard LBGTIQA+ people around Aotearoa,” said the group in a tweet, referring to the country by its Maori name.

Ardern told Express, an LGBTQ newspaper in New Zealand, during a 2020 interview that she and her party support the bill.

“We support it,” she said. “I support it.”

New Zealand would join Malta and a handful of other countries that ban conversion therapy if the bill becomes law.

The Canadian House of Commons in June approved a measure that would ban conversion therapy in the country. The Canadian Senate is expected to debate the bill later this year.

German lawmakers last year approved a bill that banned conversion therapy for minors in the country. California, D.C., Virginia and Maryland are among the U.S. jurisdictions that also prohibit the practice.

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New Zealand

New Zealand lawmakers approve conversion therapy ban bill

Measure passed by 112-8 vote margin

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(Photo by Takuta via Flickr)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Lawmakers in New Zealand on Tuesday approved a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy in the country.

Reuters reported the bill passed by a 112-8 vote margin. Justice Minister Kris Faafoi, who introduced the measure, described the vote as “a great day for New Zealand’s rainbow communities.”

Canada and Brazil are among the countries in which the discredited practice is now banned.

The French National Assembly last month unanimously approved a bill to ban conversion therapy in the country. Israeli Health Minister Nizhan Horowitz, who is openly gay, on Monday announced health care professionals can no longer practice conversion therapy in the country.

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New Zealand

New Zealand passes a self-ID bill for Trans people

“The bill recognises those who need to amend their birth certificate can do so-” courts do not have the right to make that choice for them”

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Trans Health Care Now marching at Wellington, NZ International Pride Parade 2018 (Photo Credit: Trans Health Care Now NZ)

WELLINGTON – New Zealand’s parliament on Thursday passed a bill, first introduced in 2018, that will allow Trans New Zealanders to self-ID. The legislation removes the statutory legal requirement for a determination of gender identity/gender marker to be backed by documentation from a medical professional for changing birth certificates and other official documents.

Dr. Elizabeth Kerekere, Member of Parliament and an Out lesbian and Trans ally, told the NZ Herald;

“This bill recognises that those who need to amend their birth certificate can do so, that the courts do not have the right to make that choice for them, that parents do not have that right, that cisgender people who don’t even know them or care about them do not have that right.”

“As a takatāpui, cis-lesbian fem ally to our takatāpui, trans and intersex non-binary whānau, I am very proud to commend this bill to the house,” she added.

The Herald also reported that MP Jan Tinetti, Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister for Women, and Associate Minister of Education noted that it was a “a proud day in Aotearoa’s history”.

She paid tribute to Trans New Zealanders who had been; “hurt, mocked, belittled and discriminated against”.

“A lot of discussion was aimed at trans women. As a cis woman I am proud to stand alongside my sisters,” she said adding “Trans misogyny is still misogyny. […] “We are changing legislation that is truly a step closer to an inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand. Keep proudly being you.”

The legislation will take affect in 18 months after the New Zealand government consults with the Trans community and others to ensure the legislation works to support those it concerns.

Consultation will begin next year on the regulations which will determine who is a suitably qualified third party to support applications for young people; find a way to make sure the sex markers available for the birth certificate include non-binary and cultural options; and determine any additional requirements for anyone seeking to amend their registered sex more than once, the Herald reported.

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