Catherine Healy who helped bring into play sex work decriminalization in New Zealand and implementation of some of the most liberal prostitution laws in the world, was recognized for her achievements on June 4.
Healy was commended for building the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective into "a globally respected public health provider."
Some commentators have greeted the news with joy, other however were unhappy about the choice.
Catherine Alice Healy, Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the rights of sex workers = another reason why I am extremely proud to be a New Zealander.— Ncikaroa (@Ncikaroa) June 3, 2018
Don'tcha got to love Aotearoa/New Zealand where a 'Madam' can become a 'Dame'?— IT'S MUZZA (@macgibbons) June 4, 2018
I do. #birthdayhonours
Well deserved and congrats to Catherine honoured for services to the rights of sex workers. Dame Catherine Healy 'brought in from the cold' after career advocating for sex workers https://t.co/CF6SxHhNgc #NewZealand #sexworkers #QueensBirthdayHonours— Catherine Taylor (@NZEroticAuthor) June 3, 2018
i have so many feels about this, my heart is bursting for this woman!!!…#NewZealand really has come along way in the last 20 years!!! just being able to type #DameCatherineHealy and know it's for real brings me such joy!!! #QueensBirthdayHonours— mⒶryteatowel (@maryteatowel) June 3, 2018
Same; was a bad day when it was legalised. Look @ the hell that 'career' is putting residents thru in Christchurch & likely elsewhere. Families, children can't sleep, their yards are used as fornication spots & trashed with condoms, general rubbish. Stop condoning this 'work'.— Kathryn Macgregor (@Pipes7412) June 4, 2018
I’m not sure about this Dame & Sir business, It’s so imposing of colonial titles, perhaps we should be moving to ‘Koro’ & ‘Kuia’ or something (?), because one thing I do know is we need to honour amazing people, wahine, like Catherine Healy & Christine Bartlett#matarikiawards— Tina Plunkett (@tina_plunkett) June 3, 2018
If we only had people like her in South Korea maybe… just maybe… the politicians there would have stopped using Comfort Women as their political pawns.— All Things Asia (@allthingsasia1) June 4, 2018
In June 2003, New Zealand became the first country to decriminalize sex work with the Prostitution Reform Act (PRA) 2003. Healy had been instrumental in campaigning for the legislation to be passed.
"This honor, and to have it given to me, is about saying, 'Okay, it's okay, you can come in from the cold, you and yours'," she told the national broadcaster.
The Queen of England gives out honors twice a year — on New Year's Day and on her official birthday in the beginning of June.