Barry Soper: Parliament passes 'Self-ID Bill' at third reading, making it easier for trans people to update birth certificates


Manage episode 312888058 series 2098282
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Politicians shared emotional messages to the "brave" trans and wider community as they supported legislation that allows people to change their birth certificates to reflect who they are.
It has been over four years since the Bill was introduced, and it has been thoroughly debated - at times fiery - at each stage finally getting to a point where today it passed its third reading today unanimously.
Green Party MP Dr Elizabeth Kerekere, a longtime advocate in the rainbow community, was in tears and had to pause to gather her emotions as she spoke in support of the Bill in the House.
"This bill recognises that those who need to amend their birth certificate can do so, that the courts do not have the right to make that choice for them, that parents do not have that right, that cis-gender people who don't even know them or care about them do not have that right.
"As a takatāpui, cis-lesbian fem ally to our takatāpui, trans and intersex non-binary whānau, I am very proud to commend this bill to the house," she said.
Kerekere also made reference to the country's first and only transgender MP, Georgina Beyer.
The Bill means people can amend the sex on a birth certificate on simple process without going through the Family Court, which involved appearing before a judge and disclosing private medical information.
It will also not require people to provide evidence of medical treatment, which can be difficult to access, intrusive, and which the person in question may not want.
Internal Affairs Minister Jan Tinetti said it was "a proud day in Aotearoa's history".
She paid tribute to the people who submitted in favour of the change who had been "hurt, mocked, belittled and discriminated against".
"A lot of discussion was aimed at trans women. As a cis woman I am proud to stand alongside my sisters.
"Trans misogyny is still misogyny."
Tinetti referred to a time when she was principal at a school and an 8-year-old student, who the "world saw as a boy knew they were a girl".
She worked through the journey with her, and she'd recently contacted the minister to thank her.
"We are changing legislation that is truly a step closer to an inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand.
"Keep proudly being you."
National Party spokeswoman for women Nicola Grigg said few bills had had such a "complicated" passage through the House.
"But this Bill is in a much better state than when it was introduced in 2017."
She said she understood the concerns of those who felt the change could diminish the status of women in society, and set a precedent for replacing sex in policy.
"Those views are genuinely held and we as parliamentarians have an obligation to listen."
She said she was concerned some of those opposing the changes were blocked from organising debates on the topic.
However, Gigg said she believed those fears were unfounded.
"The current law causes unnecessary stress for some people and I don't think it will set a precedent. Laws need to reflect the times we live in.
"All this is doing is modernising the process, it was a dated Act and this shifts it in the right direction."
The self-identification provisions come into force in 18 months' time.
This will give the Government opportunity to consult with the rainbow community and receive submissions and ensure the legislation works to support those it concerns.
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; and determine any additional requirements for anyone seeking to amend their registered sex more than once.
- by Michael Neilson, NZ Herald

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