Today Labour voted on and passed a policy for free gender reassignment surgery for the second time at a regional conference. Seeing as the current waitlist is longer than our average lifespan, this sounds like good news!
Until you read the coverage, and how the higher-ups in the party responded.
“I’m quite happy with my gender” – Andrew Little
Andrew Little apparently hasn’t given the policy any thought, and stated that he was happy with his gender. Okay, great for you, so am I, but just because you don’t have any problems doesn’t mean the rest of us have to go without surgery that’ll save lives and significantly improve mental health and living conditions.
Then there was Stuart Nash, MP for Napier, pulling the “we just don’t have those people here” we’re all too familiar with:
“To be honest, never once in Napier has anyone ever said they’re not going to vote for Labour because we’re not funding gender reassignment surgery.”
The thing is, Nash, there are definitely transgender people in Napier. In fact, with an electorate population of about 70,000, there are probably at least 500 transgender people in your electorate (judging from the 1.2% gained from the Youth12 data). And even if there somehow weren’t, does that mean that transgender people outside your electorate don’t deserve access to healthcare? Would you do this for every group of people with specific healthcare needs? If they’re not in your electorate, they don’t matter? Would you ignore the needs of at least 500 of your constituents if it were any other group of people?
Little and Nash’s views reflect a very serious problem: they don’t care about our healthcare needs, not when it’ll come at the cost of votes. Nash was quoted saying “I don’t think it’s an issue that’s important to the people of New Zealand”. Because public popularity is more important than our lives.
This issue is important to those affected by it. This ‘issue’ is our lives and our well-being. This is a human rights issue, not a policy popularity one.
Cheers to those within Labour who are pushing for this. To the rest: sharpen the fuck up.
I wrote about trans healthcare, lives, and safety in reference to state violence last month: read here
I also spoke about this issue and Labour’s response with GayNZ: read here
Finally, read my appeal for fundraising help here