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Thursday 10 November 2016

Transgender Victories!

Posted in: People
By Craig Young - 30th June 2016

Congratulations is in order for two heroines of the New Zealand transgender rights movement. Both Dakota Hemmingson and Stefani Muollo-Gray have won victories for transgender rights over the last two days, albeit in different contexts.

Firstly, Dakota Hemmingson must be the heroine of the hour within the transgender community today. The Employment Relations Authority has ruled in her favour, awarding her $3248 from the Barkers Groom Room and $11,000 for hurt and humiliation. Because she had the courage and bravery to say no in this blatant case of anti-transgender employment discrimination and carried it through, Dakota has made history. With this landmark result, she is the first person to win an anti-transgender workplace discrimination case in New Zealand. The Employment Relations Authority has accepted that gender identity is 'virtually' covered under the Human Rights Act 1993 and that the Crown Law Office opinion on gender identity as a subcategory of sex (but implicitly covered by existing legislation) is valid. That means that gender identity is covered (albeit indirectly) under the Human Rights Act 1993 when it comes to employment discrimination at least- and possibly also accommodation and service provider discrimination as well, although that may well take other pioneers with Dakota's fortitude and strength.

Secondly, Dakota isn't the only one celebrating tonight. Down in the South Island, Stefani Muollo-Gray has been told by her principal that as a transgender student, she can use gender-appropriate toilets, which means that staff at Marlborough Girls High and its principal may have been informed by the Ministry of Education that they would support Stefani's quest for justice in this context and would rule for educational retention and inclusion when it came to education access and service provision. Even better, it means that Family First's attention-grabbing 'legal opinion' stunt has been binned, just like its imported US Christian Right activist Glen Stanton's anti-transgender 'research report' was.

The other good news came through earlier today on Stefani's Facebook page:

28 JUN 2016 —The principle brought Stefani into her office to talk to her about the situation at hand. She said that she is able to use the female bathroom. WOOOOO!!!

Dakota and Stefani, both of you are wahine toa!

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Craig Young - 30th June 2016