Access the Beehive’s announcement here
We view the government’s announced policy change as a positive development for transgender prisoners in New Zealand.
Transgender persons still face legal and administrative obstacles regarding the recognition of their preferred gender in official documents, such as birth certificates. We therefore urge further change to the new policy so that the placement of transgender prisoners without an updated birth certificate is not contingent upon the Chief Executive’s discretion.
We also believe there is more to be done to ensure transgender prisoners are treated with dignity, respect and equality. One such area is transgender prisoners’ access to medical treatment, such as hormone replacement therapy.
Nevertheless, we commend the Department of Corrections for displaying a willingness to engage with some of the issues transgender prisoners face – issues that have necessitated a new approach to correctional norms. Public discussion will give rise to greater understanding of these issues and the need for further reform. An open and inclusive dialogue is essential if New Zealand is to demonstrate its continued commitment to human rights.