Transgender activist would swap honour for law change

epa04234125 A man holds a rainbow flag during the first Cyprus Pride parade at the Eleftherias square, in central Nicosia, Cyprus 31 May 2014. The parade was held as part of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community's first Gay Pride Festival in the country.  EPA/KATIA CHRISTODOULOU

Auckland woman Lexie Matheson has become an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her work on transgender rights.

Ms Matheson realised she was transgender in her early 50s, and has spent the past 15 years fighting as an advocate for the community.

"We're not protected by the Human Rights Act, and I was thinking this morning, what do I really think about this honour? I think I'd trade it in to see two words -- gender identity -- put in the Human Rights Act. I'd trade just about anything."

She couldn't believe it when she got the news.

"I read the letter and I put it down on the couch next to me, and my family got really excited. It took a while to sink in. I thought, 'Oh, that's nice'. Then about an hour later I thought, 'Oh my god -- it's the honours list.'"


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