Henry Mills

New Zealand’s parliament unanimously passed a law that will make it easier for trans people to update the sex on their birth certificates.

The country first introduced self-identification on birth certificates in 2018, though until now this was only possible if evidence of a medical procedure was provided.

Passed unanimously on 9 December, the births, deaths, marriages and relationship registration bill makes it easier to self-identify by removing that requirement.

Jan Tinetti, internal affairs minister, said: “Today is a proud day in Aotearoa’s history.

“Parliament has voted in favour of inclusivity and against discrimination.”

The move means that New Zealand joins like the likes of Denmark and Spain which have also made it simpler to change the sex listed on legal documents.

“This law change will make a real difference for transgender, non-binary, takatāpui [LGBT] and intersex New Zealanders,” Tinetti added.

Dr Elizabeth Kerekere, a Green Party MP, praised the bill but expressed her disappointment over its exclusion of refugees, asylum seekers and recent migrants.

She added: “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 cisgender people who don’t even know them or care about them do not have that right.”

Nicola Grigg, the National party’s spokesperson for women, stated that a wide array of voices should be heard when it comes to this topic – despite the support of the opposition.

“If we shut down the full expression of topics such as this, we won’t benefit from considering a full range of views as we debate complex policy and ideas and I do worry about the societal impacts of people feeling that their views are no longer able to be expressed,” Grigg said.

The minister added that work will be done to address the law only applying to New Zealand birth certificates in the country.