Trans law change won’t happen before election, Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin says

NZ Herald 23 June 2020
Family First Comment: By choosing your own gender in your birth certificate, the certificates will become an object of unscientific gender ideology and effectively tell medical professionals that they got it wrong at time of birth. Circumstances may change but a historical document should not be able to be changed. It is disturbing that some politicians want to ignore biological reality and, in the process, bring about confusion and ambiguity. A birth certificate is a historical record based on fact – not a political tool to further an ideology.

A law change which would have made it easier for trans people to change their gender on official documents has fallen off the Government’s agenda.

But the minister in charge of the law change, Tracey Martin, says investigations have found that many of the hurdles for trans people do not require a law change.

A working group had found it was possible, but not widely known, that people could change their birth certificate without attending court and without undergoing invasive medical procedures.

Martin, the Internal Affairs Minister, confirmed to the Herald that there would be no law change this Parliamentary term.

“It’s still on pause. Due to Covid and the complications around it, it’s very unlikely it is going to move forward prior to the election.”

It would have allowed trans people to change gender on their birth certificate by signing a statutory declaration. That would be far easier and more accessible than the existing system, which required people to apply to the Family Court and present medical evidence showing they had changed their physical attributes.

The bill was controversially deferred last February. The Government said at the time that it had not been properly consulted on, because the changes relating to self-identification were added after the public consultation phase.

It also said the potential ramifications of the change had not been fully considered, such as what it would mean for women’s spaces like single sex schools, prisons and refuges. A select committee had already found that the change would not do any harm, but the Government wanted more advice and consultation on the issue.

Big Read: A matter of identity
NZ Herald 21 December 2018
A law change for trans people to change the gender on their birth certificates was tantalising close before it was pulled at the last minute following furious debate.

But the change also has its critics, including conservative and religious groups such as Family First and some feminist groups who believe not enough thought has gone into the consequences of such a move on women’s-only spaces, such as prisons and women’s refuges.

They also raise the prospect of imposters — men who falsely change their gender not because they identify as women but solely to gain access to women or to a place reserved for women.