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New Zealand unanimously passes gender self-ID law in historic move for trans rights

Lily Wakefield December 9, 2021
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LGBT+ people march in Auckland, New Zealand

People march in Auckland, New Zealand as part of the annual Pride Festival, 2019. (Getty/ Hannah Peters)

After four years of debate, New Zealand has unanimously passed a self-ID bill for trans people, voting “in favour of inclusivity and against discrimination”.

The self-ID bill was introduced in 2018, and was finally passed by New Zealand’s parliament on Thursday (9 December) after its third reading.

It will remove the requirement for medical intervention to change legal gender marker in favour of a “statutory declaration”.

The changes will come into force in 18 months time, allowing for consultation with the LGBT+ community on how the process should work, how young people can access correct gender markers, and how to be inclusive of non-binary people and different cultures.

According to the NZ Herald, Green Party MP Dr Elizabeth Kerekere, a cisgender lesbian and longtime trans ally, said: “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.”

“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 continued.

Internal affairs minister Jan Tinetti described the passing of the bill as “a proud day in Aotearoa’s history”, and added: “Parliament has voted in favour of inclusivity and against discrimination.”

She said that trans folk and those who supported the bill had been “hurt, mocked, belittled and discriminated against” during the course of the years-long debate, and continued: “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… We are changing legislation that is truly a step closer to an inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand.

“Keep proudly being you.”

Lagging shamefully behind New Zealand, in the UK, self-ID for trans folk seems like a distant dream.

While the Tory government conducted research as far back as 2018 showing broad public support for reform of the gender recognition, under Boris Johnson, the government announced last year that it was scrapping plans for reform completely.

 

More: New Zealand, self-ID

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