Come to the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) consultation on the BDMRR, to have your say on how amending birth certificates and getting legal gender recognition should work.
Attend an online hui, and/or make a written submission to the DIA.
In December 2021, parliament voted yes unanimously, to change the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Act.
When Act changes come into effect, they will remove the family court process for updating sex markers on New Zealand birth certificates, and replace it with a statutory declaration. This is a step forward for trans people, because they will no longer need to medically transition or prove their gender to a judge in order to get an accurate birth certificate.
Several aspects of the new process are regulations, so they were not written into the law. The DIA is seeking feedback from transgender and intersex people on what those regulations should be.
What DIA wants to know
Which sex markers
Which sex markers people should be allowed to use, besides Male and Female. There will eventually be a list of non-binary genders included in the regulations, and you will only be allowed to choose Male, Female or one of the genders on this list.
Who can support young people
People aged 16 or 17 will be able to amend their sex marker with a letter of support from either a parent or a “suitably qualified person” and people aged 15 or under will require a support letter from both a parent and a “suitably qualified person”. Exactly what is meant by “a suitably qualified person” is currently unclear, but will be specified in the regulations.
More than one update
The Act also states that people who have already changed their sex marker (or name) may face additional requirements to update their details again. Currently we don’t know what the additional requirements will be, but these will also be specified in the regulations.
People who do not have a NZ birth certificate
The old law made it possible for “anyone with the right to live in New Zealand indefinitely” to apply to the family court and receive a court ordered “declaration as to sex“. Since the family court process will be removed, this means that trans people born outside New Zealand no longer have access to legal recognition of their gender. The new law did not provide any options for people born overseas, but the government did commit to providing a solution. This process is a slightly different consultation, since it is not covered by the BDMRR Act. The Rainbow Path consultations will be addressing this process, and you can also speak about this in your written submission.
Find out more
Our submission on BDMRR covered some of these issues. Our position for youth was to loosen the requirements for support letters, and there is no longer a requirement for a supporting letter to come from a healthcare professional, which we spoke about in our submission. We believe that this should be loosened as much as possible, and anyone who knows a transgender young person should be qualified to write a letter in support of them amending their sex marker.
In our spoken submission, we focused on the added restrictions for people seeking to amend their sex marker more than once. Coming to understand your gender may be complicated, and may have several stages – people may go from a binary gender to a non-binary one over time for example. There should be no added restrictions for amending your sex marker more than once.
Together with Rainbow Path, we advocated for trans people born overseas to have their specific circumstances acknowledged, and for a process for recognition that works for refugees, asylum seekers, migrants and people on temporary visas to be included in the law. Whatever process the government decides to use, it is vital that everyone in New Zealand has access to documentation that shows their affirmed sex and which carries weight in their country of origin.
In the submission from Rainbow Support Collective, which we are part of, we advocated for the removal of intersex as a sex category, which was also strongly recommended in the submission from Intersex Aotearoa. We also advocate that there should be an option to not have a sex marker.
Gender Minorities Aotearoa and DIA: sessions for all transgender people.
Tuesday 28 June, 6pm-7.30pm
Thursday 7 July, 1pm-2.30pm
Gender Minorities Aotearoa and DIA: session for non-binary people only
Thursday 14 July, 6pm-7.30pm
In addition to these Hui, other hui will be hosted by:
- Rainbow Path – Transgender and intersex people born outside New Zealand
- Intersex Aotearoa – Intersex people
- InsideOUT – Transgender, intersex and takatāpui youth (14-18)
- Tīwhanawhana Trust – Takatāpui, irawhiti, transgender and intersex Māori
- F’INE – Transgender and MVPFAFF+ Pacific peoples
Write a Submission:
You can write a submission, regardless of whether you attend a hui. For further information and submission forms.