More than 30,000 people in New Zealand have signed a parliamentary petition against teaching gender diversity in the country’s schools.
‘I believe that endorsing gender discordance as normal via public education and legal policies will confuse children and parents’ the petition’s author, Helen Houghton, wrote on the parliament’s website.
In 2015, New Zealand introduced sexual education guidelines including gender diversity. The government released an inclusive education guide for supporting LGBTI in 2017.
The ‘Stop transgender teaching in New Zealand schools’ parliamentary petition garnered 33,556 signatures as of Thursday (28 February) morning.
‘I believe that teachers are already required to create a safe environment for all students regardless of race, religion, language, disability, and sexuality,’ Houghton wrote.
‘They do not have a separate requirement to teach the content of minority groups in the curriculum’.
LGBTI rights advocates in New Zealand said they hoped non one would take the petition seriously. An MP would need to present the petition to parliament.
Gender Minorities Aotearoa national coordinator Ahi Wi-Hongi told Newshub the number of signatories was suspiciously high for such a niche issue in a small country.
Trans rights in New Zealand
Earlier this month, the United Nations told New Zealand to do more on LGBTI rights.
Member states called on the country to stop medical procedures on intersex people without their consent.
What’s more, the government recently halted a plan to change birth certificates. It would have allowed citizens to change sex without giving medical evidence.
The government had bowed to to pressure from anti-trans lobby groups, local media reported.
But, New Zealand announced in October it would increase the number of publicly-funded gender-affirming surgeries available.
Earlier this week, the statistics department apologized after equating pedophiles with pansexuals.
Research in New Zealand (and worldwide) has shown young trans people are at much greater risk of bullying, depression, self harm, or suicide than cisgender people.
Wi-Hongi also told Newshub the school system should treat trans identities as legitimate.