Trans and intersex people in our community have been waiting too long for the dignity they deserve. It’s been a decade since the Human Rights Commission first highlighted the need to simplify the process for trans and intersex people to change the gender marker on their birth certificates.
Right now the way to change the gender marker on your passport, or drivers licence is much easier and respectful. But to change your birth certificate is a huge, embarrassing rigmarole involving a two-step process where you have to go to both the Family Court and the Registrar-General and in almost all cases, you have to provide some sort of expert medical evidence of your gender identity.
The amazing Allyson Hamblett brought a petition to Parliament last year asking the Government to finally change the rules. The Human Rights Commission supported this and recommended following the approach for New Zealand passports and driver licences. That would means trans and intersex people could choose the gender marker on their birth certificate. The Select Committee that considered the petition agreed that we need to change the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act and make it simpler to change our gender markers.
The Select Committee said:
We commend the petitioner, who has gone to great effort and spent a significant amount of time in presenting her requests and outlining the current legal position. We appreciate the petitioner’s desire for the system to allow for self-identification, rather than having information on birth certificates imposed by others. We agree that a more streamlined administrative process would be preferable to the current two-step process.
Since New Zealand has already fixed our passport and drivers licence processes now it’s time to fix the birth certificate process too. Submissions are open on a range of changes to the law that covers birth certificates. These changes were developed before Allyson’s petition was received. The proposed Bill does not mention the unfair barriers trans and intersex people face. That’s a big glaring hole, and we need your help to fix it.
We believe, as does the Human Right Commission, and the Select Committee, that the process needs to be simplified and to let people self-identify. Making this change would also bring consistency across all official documents; passports, drivers licences and birth certificates.
The Green Party have been championing this issue, and other trans and intersex issues, for years. We will be continuing to work to make the world a more welcoming and easy place for our whole Rainbow community. This is a really winnable issue. We have the law being reviewed at the moment. But we need you to stand up and tell Parliament not to forget trans and intersex people. We need to ask them to add this change, so that all New Zealanders can have the dignity that they deserve, and have all of their documentation match their gender.
We’ve made a submission guide to make it quick and easy for you to add your voice to the call for this change.