Hundreds of Wellingtonians gathered in support of the city’s trans community last night outside a meeting for the controversial Speak Up For Women group.
Speak Up For Women opposes proposed law changes that would allow people to self-identify their sex, without going through the Family Court.
Elle Kingsbury, who helped organise the rally, says it’s all about sending a message of solidarity.
“I hope this protest will show that Wellington stands with trans people and for trans rights.”
During the protest, Speak Up For Women held a meeting at the nearby Michael Fowler Centre to discuss the proposed law changes.
Spokesperson Beth Johnson says if the changes go through, they’ll have “impacts to eligibility and access to single-sex spaces and services”.
The group came under fire earlier this week for their billboard in Central Wellington stating the definition of a woman as “adult human female”.
The billboard was removed roughly 24 hours after it was put up.
“They are an anti-trans group,” Kingsbury said. “They believe that trans people are not, and should not be, legitimate members of society.”
But the group strongly rejects those claims.
“It actually really upsets me,” Johnson said.
“Speaking about women’s rights and talking about how we can advance transgender rights without impacting the existing rights of women and girls - those two things should be able to happen together.”
In support of the gender diverse community, Wellington’s mayor Andy Foster, as well as two councillors - Teri O’Neill and Fleur Fitzsimons - have organised for the Michael Fowler Centre to be lit up each night for the rest of the week with the colours of the transgender flag.
Speak Up For Women has hit out at the move, claiming they’re using council resources to send a political message and Fitzsimons agrees.
“We’re absolutely using our venue to send a political message and it’s a message of inclusion and love to transgender people in Wellington and nobody should have any concern about that message and I don’t understand the opposition.”