Saturday, July 20, 2024

Historic day dawns for rainbow community

History has been made today with the passing of a Bill that recognises the rights and wellbeing of New Zealand’s rainbow community, Internal Affairs Minister Jan Tinetti has announced.

“Today is a proud day in Aotearoa’s history. Parliament has voted in favour of inclusivity and against discrimination,” Minister Tinetti said.

“The passing of the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationship Registration Bill brings with it a more accessible and inclusive process for people to change the sex recorded on their birth certificate. This law change will make a real difference for transgender, non-binary, takatāpui and intersex New Zealanders.”

The Bill had its third and final reading in Parliament today.

“Self-identification on birth certificates was first introduced in 2018 in response to a petition and now in 2021, after a thorough parliamentary inquiry, 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.”

“The changes will also support young people to make their own decisions about how they are identified on their birth certificates. It gives them agency over their identity, which will promote their mental health and sense of well-being.

“The self-identification provisions come into force in 18 months’ time. This will give the government opportunity to consult with the rainbow community and ensure the legislation works to support the people at its heart,” said Ms Tinetti.

Consultation will begin next year on the regulations which will:

  • determine who is a suitably qualified third party to support applications for young people;
  • find a way to make sure the sex markers available for the birth certificate include non-binary and cultural options;
  • determine any additional requirements for anyone seeking to amend their registered sex more than once.

“I would like to acknowledge that there will be disappointment from overseas-born New Zealanders as they will not be able to access self-identification at present. This is because the changes only apply to New Zealand birth certificates at this stage.”

“Work will be done to address this, starting with further consultation with those affected. This will only further strengthen the milestone we have achieved today,” Ms Tinetti said.

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