Bill allowing change to birth certificates passes

Beehive. Photo: RNZ
Photo: RNZ
Parliament has passed the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill, which allows people to change their birth certificates to reflect who they are.

The bill changes the process for amending the sex shown on a birth certificate from one which requires people to go through the Family Court - including appearing before a judge and disclosing private medical information - to a simple self-selecting administrative process.

The bill represents a victory for trans, non-binary, intersex and takatāpui people.

In particular, it will not require people to provide evidence of medical treatment, which can be difficult to access, intrusive, and which the person in question may not want.

Green MP Dr Elizabeth Kerekere cried in the house as she spoke in support.

"This bill recognises that those who need to amend their birth certificate can do so, that the courts do not have the right to make that choice for them, that parents do not have that right, that cis-gender people who don't even know them or care about them do not have that right.

"As a takatāpui, cis-lesbian fem ally to our takatāpui, trans and intersex non-binary whānau, I am very proud to commend this bill to the house," she said.

"It is with great pleasure that after generations of systemic discrimination, decades of community activism and many years of work in this house that we are passing this amendment."

The consultation hearings had been marred by transphobic submissions, and had been "something else".

"We would have hoped that all submitters presented with accurate information and a genuine care for the humanity of all New Zealanders, sadly that was not the case.

"We acknowledge that many members of takatāpui, trans, intersex and non-binary communities and your allies were infuriated and traumatised by the gaslighting, transphobia, and particularly transphobic misogyny that was expressed in those hearings."

"This bill upholds the mana, the wairua, the mauri of our takatāpui, trans, intersex and non-binary whānau. It will be the first of many."

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