It’s important to know your rights.
Citizens Advice Bureau say:
“Discrimination occurs when a person is treated unfairly or less favourably than another person in the same or similar circumstances, on the grounds of race, sex, sexual orientation, religious belief, age, marital status, country of origin or disability.”
“Discrimination can be direct (eg an employer pays one employer less than another employee when both employees do the same work with the same level of skill and experience) or indirect (eg the only entrance to a shop is by climbing stairs, which indirectly discriminates against someone who uses a wheelchair).”
“The Human Rights Act 1993 and the Bill of Rights Act are the two main human rights laws in New Zealand. The Human Rights Act specifies what kinds of discrimination are unlawful, including sexual harassment, racial harassment and racial disharmony, and also sets out some exclusions where it is lawful to treat people differently. These human rights laws apply to government agencies (including local councils) and to businesses and organisations when they provide you with a service, or make decisions that affect you.”
Discrimination law covers:
- dealings with government or public sector agencies
- access to public places, vehicles and facilities
- provision of goods and services
- provision of land, housing and accommodation
- access to education
We’ve compiled a list of rights lesbians have in Aotearoa:
- Under the Human Rights Act, you are protected by law on the basis of sex and sexual orientation. It is illegal to discriminate against you for being a lesbian in New Zealand.
- You have the right to define your sexual orientation as a female homosexual, and to declare your sexual orientation doesn’t include males.
- You have the right to dress how you want, without discrimination.
- You have the right to get married.
- You have the right to a civil union.
- You have the right to freedom of association.
- You have the right to express your opinion without censure from your employer – political views and ethical beliefs are a protected ground of discrimination under the Human Rights Act.
- Under the Bill Of Rights Act, you have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including the right to adopt and hold opinions without interference.
- You have the right to discriminate against males being in your space, service or organisation if you are working to assist lesbians and/or reduce anti-lesbian discrimination (under Section 19 of the Bill of Rights Act).
- You have the right to freedom of expression – including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.
Conversion therapy/’Sexual Orientation Change Efforts’ are NOT yet banned in New Zealand. The Human Rights Commission says, ‘You have the right to not be subject to any forms of therapy that are carried out in an attempt to change your sexual orientation or gender identity.’
We thank every woman who has worked to achieve the legal protection of lesbians that we have at present. We will fight to maintain these rights and improve them.
This page will be updated to address family rights including custody rights soon.