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Labour announces ban on conversion therapy, plan to help provide gender-neutral bathrooms in schools



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The Labour Party has announced several policies to help New Zealanders “live free of discrimination” based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The policies include banning conversion therapy and working with schools to provide gender-neutral bathrooms.

The party’s Rainbow spokesperson Tāmati Coffey says more work needs to be done to “keep moving towards a more inclusive New Zealand”.

“We will pass a law to ban the harmful practice of conversion therapy. Conversion therapy is based on the misguided idea that people are wrong or broken because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is fundamentally wrong,” he said.

“Conversion therapy has been linked to severe adverse mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation.

“It is a practice that causes harm and is out of place in the kind, inclusive and modern country we are.”

Two petitions were presented to Parliament in 2018 calling for a ban on conversion therapy. The Justice Select Committee responded at the time by saying that while there was agreement that conversion therapy was harmful, “more work needs to be done” before any decision is taken to ban it.

Labour MP Grant Robertson says it hasn’t banned the practice during its three years of governing because there wasn’t “full government support” for it.

“What we are now saying though is this will be something we will push in government and we will pass legislation,” he said.

“The kind of practices that attempt to change or suppress somebody’s sexuality are wrong and we need to make sure that we send a very clear message about that.”

Along with the ban, Labour MP Louisa Wall says the party will also

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Donald Trump announces coronavirus testing boost for schools, nursing homes

President Trump on Monday announced that his administration plans to distribute 150 million rapid coronavirus tests to schools, nursing homes and other facilities in the coming weeks.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: FILE – In this Sunday, June 14, 2020 file photo, President Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up while walking across the tarmac as he boards Air Force One at Morristown Municipal Airport, in Morristown, N.J. Trump is returning to Washington. A far-right Norwegian lawmaker says he has nominated President Donald Trump for the Nobel Prize 2021 for his efforts to reach a peace agreement in the Middle East. Christian Tybring-Gjedde, a member of the Norwegian Parliament for the far-right Progress Party, said on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020 that Trump should be considered for his work “for reaching a peace agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel which opens up for possible peace in the Middle East. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)


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FILE – In this Sunday, June 14, 2020 file photo, President Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up while walking across the tarmac as he boards Air Force One at Morristown Municipal Airport, in Morristown, N.J. Trump is returning to Washington. A far-right Norwegian lawmaker says he has nominated President Donald Trump for the Nobel Prize 2021 for his efforts to reach a peace agreement in the Middle East. Christian Tybring-Gjedde, a member of the Norwegian Parliament for the far-right Progress Party, said on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020 that Trump should be considered for his work “for reaching a peace agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel which opens up for possible peace in the Middle East. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Trump during an event at the White House called the 150 million tests a “massive and groundbreaking expansion” in the nation’s coronavirus testing capabilities.

Of the 150 million Abbott point-of-care tests, 50 million will “protect the most vulnerable communities,” Trump said. That includes 18 million tests for nursing homes, 15 million for assisted living facilities, and 10 million for home health and hospice care agencies.

The rest, 100 million tests, will go to states and territories to “support efforts to reopen their economies and schools immediately and as fast as they can,” the president said.

“It’s important to remember that as younger and healthier people return to work, and as we massively increase testing capacity, we will identify more cases in asymptomatic individuals in low-risk populations,” Trump said. “This should not cause undue alarm. The total number of cases is not the full metric of success.”

The

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Appeals court rules against Anoka-Hennepin schools in ‘landmark’ bias case

The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday ruled that a transgender student at Coon Rapids High School had a right to use the boys’ locker room.

Instead, the Anoka-Hennepin School District directed the student, N.H., to use an “enhanced privacy” bathroom separate from the boys’ locker room in violation of the state’s human rights act, the court said in a decision filed Monday.

The state Department of Human Rights called it a landmark ruling.

“This decision means that schools are now safer and more welcoming for transgender and gender nonconforming students across Minnesota,” Human Rights Deputy Commissioner Irina Vaynerman said in a statement.

The Court of Appeals also referred to the statewide significance of the Anoka County case.

“An estimated 24,250 adults in Minnesota identify as transgender, all of whom were high school students at some point,” the court said.

Anoka-Hennepin said in a statement it was reviewing the decision and carefully considering its next steps.

“The district’s top priority is maintaining a learning environment that is safe, secure and free from discrimination, and its decision will be guided by those values,” the district said.

N.H. was a member of the boys’ swim team in 2015-16 and had used the boys’ locker room for much of that season before the district moved to halt the practice.

His mother sued the district alleging discrimination in February 2019, and six months later, Anoka County District Judge Jenny Walker Jasper rejected the district’s effort to have the case dismissed — setting the stage for Monday’s decision.

The district based its argument in part on a reading of the employment provision of the state’s human rights act, which also has a provision covering education.

In 2001, the district said, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that an employer’s designation of employee restrooms based on biological

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