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In Aotearoa, trans people born overseas are usually stuck with the wrong sex marker on their identity documents. The government said they would look into developing a solution, but now it’s been put off indefinitely.

The issue

Most transgender asylum seekers, refugees, and many migrants do not have ID with their correct gender marker. This makes it difficult or impossible to access essential everyday services, including things like opening a bank account, and seeing a healthcare provider.

Refugee travel documents are not an acceptable substitute as most services do not recognise these.

Currently, it’s possible to apply to for a “Declaration as to sex” through the Family Court, which goes some of the way toward making identity documents, and accessing services, more equitable. However, that process will be taken away when the new administrative process for NZ birth certificates rolls out in June 2023.

What happens next

The government said it would do some work to address this disparity, as it’s important that trans people with overseas birth certificates can still access accurate identity documents which they can use in NZ.

However, Department of Internal Affairs has now announced that this work is being deferred, and statements committing to doing this work have been removed from it’s website.

What can we do to help

Rainbow refugee-led organisation Rainbow Path has put together a detailed post, outlining the issues as they stand, and what we can do to support this essential work to be done. Rainbow Path is leading the work on this, and we encourage everyone to follow their blog and social media and support their actions.