The Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act sets out legal aspects and requirements for registering births, deaths, marriages, and relationships. Examples include changing a gender marker on a birth certificate due to marriage or civil union, or being transgender.

We have until the 14th of September to support the proposed changes to take away barriers faced by takatāpui and LGBTQIA+ when it comes to gender and sex markers.

These barriers include costly and time-consuming legal and medical processes. People have a right to identify their gender, it shouldn’t be the job of a Court.

We've put together this submission guide to help you have your say:

What to include

1. Introduce yourself
Your name, your identity and pronouns (if you’re comfortable doing so) and your reason(s) for supporting the proposed changes to this law.

2. Why do you think the law needs to change?
Think about including any personal experience you may have had that presented barriers, made you uncomfortable, or were discriminatory.

3. Think about including some or all of these points:

  • People should be able to self-identify without going to the Family Court or having to spend a lot of time and money going to medical professionals. The new process will be much more accessible and fair.

  • We need a simpler process that is safe and accessible for takatāpui and LGBTQIA+ people. Currently the Family Court and medical professionals decide whether an individual’s gender identity is legitimate. This is time-consuming, costly and potentially traumatising.

  • Gender identity shouldn’t be based on a person going through surgical procedures. Surgery isn’t suitable or preferable for everyone.

  • A person’s birth certificate should match other documents like a driver’s license or a passport. The gender and sex marker should be self-identified.

  • The harm current legal requirements have caused on you, your whānau, members of your community (if you’re comfortable sharing this).

  • The age for consent, or refusal to consent, to medical treatment is 16. This should also apply to a 16-year-old or 17-year-old amending the gender marker on their birth certificate.

  • The bill does not resolve issues with self-identification for permanent residents born overseas, migrants and refugees. The Bill should include an option for LGBTQIA+ migrants that is a simple administrative process, similar to that being introduced for rainbow people born in Aotearoa.

4. Select “yes, I want to make an oral submission”
This can be done by Zoom and you can always opt-out later, but you can't opt-in later. This gives you the right to speak to the Members of Parliament considering the legislation.

Hot tips 

  • USE YOUR VOICE: We want to hear your point of view.

  • KEEP IT SHORT: It does not need to be very long. Many organisations are writing lengthy submissions. Do not attach research as it might not be read.

  • UNIQUE: Do not just cut and paste everything someone else has written

  • FOCUS: Pick one or two topics that you care about rather than try to cover everything

  • PRIVACY: If you are sharing personal knowledge or experience, do not name the people or place in writing. Once the law passes, if you want to make a complaint about a specific experience, you can take that information to the Human Rights Commission.