Sex change legislation has support of all parties as it goes through Parliament

Source: 1News

Legislation making it easier to change a person's sex on their birth certificate is making its way through Parliament this evening, with the support of all political parties.

Some believe parts of it are contentious and a threat to women's rights, however, sparking protests and debates over the issue.

Waikato University Transgender Health Research’s Jack Byrne said people “may have lived their life as a man or as a woman for a long, long time but not been able to change their birth certificate”.

“It doesn't affect anyone else - it's not going to impact on anyone else’s rights,” Byrne added.

The move sparked a protest about controversial group Speak Up For Women, after they raised concerns around the legislation on women’s rights.

“Sometimes, sex matters. Just sometimes in life, sex matters and when it matters, it matters a great deal,” Speak Up For Women spokesperson Beth Johnson said.

Currently, individuals looking to change their gender marker must go through the Family Court and provide medical proof.

“It should be easier than what it is now, made more accessible for New Zealanders,” Internal Affairs Minister Jan Tinetti said.

The bill originally did not include gender identification, which was introduced later, sparking concerns over legal issues and a lack of public consultation.

“Women have the right under the Human Rights Act to have single-sex spaces and services,” Johnson said.

A gathering of supporters for transgender rights.

The bill will have its second reading tonight following a two-year hiatus, with unanimous support across the House. It will then take the unusual path of going back to the select committee.

“This will affect so few people but for those few people, this is a really important issue,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi said the bill “is about making sure that we don’t discriminate against people anymore”.

Green Party rainbow communities spokesperson Elizabeth Kerekere added that while “a lot of people might have an opinion on that, I think it's none of their business”.

National and ACT are also currently on board.

“I think people should be able to change their gender. Making it easy to change their sex has a whole lot of legal implications,” ACT leader David Seymour said.

“I'm very happy to say that I'm a biological woman but I also understand that some people do basically change their genders,” National leader Judith Collins added.

The next step will include public feedback.