The Kantar Poll shows that Christopher Luxon could be the next Prime Minister. As a non-binary person, I do not exist under a National Government led by Luxon. Luxon told Sean Plunket last week that there are only "two biological genders": men and women.
There are no biological genders. Gender bears no relation to a person's biology. Sex concerns people's physiological attributes like chromosomes, hormones, genes, sex organs and secondary sex characteristics. Gender refers to socially constructed norms, roles, and behaviours.
Luxon added that he prefers that trans women are not allowed to play women's sports. Last year, National MP Mark Mitchell, supported by Nicola Grigg, Simeon Brown, Erica Stanford, Barbara Kuriger, Tim van de Molen and Joseph Mooney, accepted a petition from an organisation that calls for trans women to be excluded from women's sport.
The National Party has a homophobic past and a transphobic future. A majority of the National Party voted against decriminalising homosexuality and allowing same-sex civil union and marriage. Only National MPs voted against banning conversion therapy. Their future is not a surprise but an inevitability. When it is no longer acceptable to attack gay men, it is instinctive to target trans people.
The National Party illuminated their anti-trans position during the conversion therapy ban. Judith Collins whipped the National Party to vote against banning conversion therapy at first reading. Collins said she would not support the criminalisation of parents who prevented their children from being trans by taking puberty blockers. Simon Bridges echoed Collins' views at first reading.
At second reading, Simon O'Connor said he talked to a gay man who told him that banning conversion therapy would mean that gay men would be erased and be forced to live as trans women. No one is trying to make cisgender gay men trans. O'Connor's attempt to use gay men against trans women was pathetic and cringeworthy.
Speaking to transgender identities last week, Collins said she identified as a "27-year-old Slovakian model". I'm surprised she didn't identify as Samoan. Collins' comment reminds me of the transphobic "I sexually identify as an attack helicopter" meme. By claiming to be something she is not and is incapable of being, Collins undermines, dismisses and ridicules trans identities. Likening trans identities to things people cannot change, such as age and ethnicity, implies that trans people are invalid.
Luxon says "Judith is being Judith" and Harete Hipango says, "There is a thing called a sense of humour," when responding to Collins' remarks. The National Party treats trans people like a joke. If we are not worrying about our safety, we are being mocked by politicians in the media. Do these politicians ever stop to think how constantly being the butt of the joke or target of abuse and bullying makes trans people feel?
The National Party throwing trans people under the bus during Mental Health Awareness week encapsulates how little they care for trans people and our wellbeing. The National Party knows that queer youth are five times more likely to attempt suicide than non-queer youth. Must the National Party make those statistics worse through their constant attacks on trans people?
Every day I worry about my safety. When I put on my clothes every morning, I think about where I am going and how late out I will I be. Wearing the wrong clothes at the wrong time and place opens me up to harassment. There hasn't been a single month in 2022 when someone hasn't yelled out a derogatory slur from a moving car. I never know when a car will stop and the yelling will escalate to violence.
I am tired of having to defend myself for simply existing. I am sick of National MPs using their power to antagonise trans people and embolden transphobes. As politicians, it is the duty of National MPs to alleviate the suffering of New Zealanders. However, their actions have failed the queer community.
I do not see an ally in the National Party.
Shaneel Shavneel Lal (they/them) was instrumental in the bill to ban conversion therapy in New Zealand. They are a law and psychology student, model and influencer.