The New Zealand parliament has unanimously passed laws allowing transgender Kiwis to more easily update sex markers on birth certificates.
The government first introduced the legislation in 2018, and finally passed the bill last Thursday.
“Today is a proud day in Aotearoa’s history. Parliament has voted in favour of inclusivity and against discrimination,” internal affairs minister Jan Tinetti said.
Tinetti said the changes allow “a more accessible and inclusive process” for gender diverse people to change the sex recorded on their birth certificate.
Under the changes, they won’t need proof of medical treatment or a Family Court declaration. That process involved appearing before a judge and disclosing private medical information.
When the new laws begin, they can instead change their sex marker with a statutory declaration.
“This law change will make a real difference for transgender, non-binary, takatāpui and intersex New Zealanders,” Tinetti said.
Laws give trans people in New Zealand ‘agency over their identity’
The self-identification provisions will begin in New Zealand in 18 months’ time after a consultation period, Jan Tinetti said.
“New Zealanders will no longer require proof of medical treatment or need to persuade a court to have the sex on their birth certificate match the gender they know themselves to be,” she said.
“The changes will also support young people to make their own decisions about how they are identified.
“It gives them agency over their identity, which will promote their mental health and sense of wellbeing.”
New Zealand Green Party MP Dr Elizabeth Kerekere also gave an emotional speech on the bill.
“As a takatāpui [LGBTIQ community member], cis-lesbian fem ally to our takatāpui, trans and intersex non-binary whānau [family], I am very proud to commend this bill to the house,” she said.
“This bill recognises that those who need to amend their birth certificate can do so.
“[It recognises] the courts do not have the right to make that choice for them, that parents do not have that right, that cisgender people who don’t even know them or care about them do not have that right.”
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