Trans, Intersex and Rainbow communities call for progress on bill change

Trans, Intersex and Rainbow communities are concerned by the lack of progress in the bill change.
Trans, Intersex and Rainbow communities are concerned by the lack of progress in the bill change. Photo credit: File / RNZ

Trans, Intersex and rainbow communities are disappointed there will be no progress on a bill to help them amend sex details on their birth certificates until after the election.

The adjustment to the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill means  people would be able to change the sex details on their birth certificate by signing a statutory declaration.

The current method requires an application to the Family Court and proof gender has been physically changed.

The bill was deferred in February 2019 due to a lack of public consultation. Six months after the deferral The Minister of Internal Affairs, Tracey Martin, announced a working group to supply her with advice surrounding improvements of the bill.

The working group commissioned the Department of Internal Affairs to interview trans and intersex people about the barriers they faced while changing birth certificate sex details and how the process could be improved.

On Tuesday Martin told NZME there would be no change to the bill this parliamentary term. 

Martin said challenges faced by trans and intersex people wishing to change the gender on their birth certificate don't require a law change. 

A working group has found it is possible to change birth certificate sex details without undergoing gender reassignment surgery and without going to court, reports NZME. The group found the process wasn't understood well by trans communities.

Trans and Intersex communities are disappointed with the working groups' findings, saying education isn’t enough and a bill change is needed to enable people to amend birth certificates.

Frances Arns, Executive Director of RainbowYOUTH said in a press release:  “It is hugely concerning if the Minister has been reported accurately on Tuesday as saying we don't need to remove any barriers. If the only solutions being considered are about providing education within the courts and to trans and intersex communities.”

One major barrier trans and intersex communities have identified is the lack of options for people who don't identify with a specific gender. People are only able to define themselves as male or female on birth certificates.

Dr Elizabeth Kerekere, Chair of Tiwhanawhana Trust says: “We call on the Government to make good on previous assurances of support to our whānau and communities including by supporting the human right of trans, non-binary and intersex people to self-define their identity.”