Wellington, 11 September 2019
This morning the Green Party has been presented with a letter calling for them to clarify the party’s position on women’s rights. It has been signed by hundreds of people, including some of New Zealand’s most prominent feminists: Sandra Coney, Prue Hyman and Dr Alison Laurie.
The letter was triggered by the Party’s decision to remove an article written for their newsletter by Jill Abigail – a feminist activist and long standing Party member.
Dr Alison Laurie, says “Jill Abigail’s well reasoned, moderate letter raised points that need further discussion. Bullying and silencing her is indicative of an authoritarian culture within the Green Party.”
Marama Davidson, the Greens co-leader dramatically claimed that the article contained “hateful views” and “puts trans rights to exist up for debate”.
Ani O’Brien, spokeswomen for Speak Up for Women, the feminist group that penned the letter, says: “Women, particularly lesbians, need the Green Party to confirm if they believe people born female deserve their own spaces, services and opportunities, and if they accept that some people are exclusively same-sex attracted.”
The letter also asks if the Green Party understands that in the New Zealand Human Rights Act ‘sex’ is a protected characteristic and that there are specific exceptions to protect the privacy, dignity, and safety of women.
Dr Alison Laurie, says “The campaign for trans rights was initiated in New Zealand by MP Georgina Beyer. This was to add a separate category of “gender” to the Human Rights Act. The proposal was defeated, the view being that transgender people could be covered under the existing category of “sex”. This subsuming of gender under sex can lead to negative outcomes for both females and for trans people. Any changes to legislation need to be discussed and debated accordingly.”
Jill Abigail says: “The censorship was a strategically unwise move by a faction of the Greens. But it has opened up a conversation that needs to be held, and it’s clear that my article spoke for many women and men both inside and outside the party.”
Notes to editor: