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Trans 201 – documentation change

Thu 14 May 2015 In: Our Communities View at NDHA

Allyson Hamblett discusses the ongoing issues with documentation changes still impacting some transgender people in New Zealand. Allyson Hamblett is a trans rights advocate who lives in Auckland. One of the most essential parts involved in transition is being able to update documentation to reflect one’s acquired gender. Most of the important documentation can be fully changed, but there seem to be some anomalies which could be easily sorted out, if the government was willing to make the necessary legislative changes – they may even win votes. There needs to be an amendment to the Citizenship Act 1977 before overseas born trans people, who NZ Citizens by grant can fully update their citizenship certificates. If they become citizens after transition the problem doesn’t exist. The problem is when trans people transition after the granting of New Zealand Citizenship because current legislation states that citizenship marks a historical moment in time. It is frustrating that it can’t be achieved through a policy change, because the Department of Internal Affairs was made aware of this issue in 2009 and agreed that the process had to be more accommodating for trans people. It’s hard to work out why the government won’t act on this, and update the legislation. A few months ago it was discovered that trust law doesn’t allow for trust deeds to be amended to reflect a change in name. It’s partially allowed, using the “also known as”, protocol, but the actual trust deed cannot be amended. One hopes there will be progress on these issues as part of the transgender consultation that took place before the election last year. Although the “also known as” protocol can be implemented, it can be a bit of an insult to trans people because of the nature of transition. Not only are names changed, but gender is changed. Having fully updated documentation is essential for trans people. Jan Logie led the transgender consultation Allyson Hamblett refers to. The Green MP adds: “The ability to appropriately and easily update formal documents including citizenship documents, birth certificates and passports has been on the agenda for many years now. Communities have been asking government for change since 2008. While we’ve made progress on passports it is frustrating at the lack of progress on birth certificates and citizenship documents in particular. “It is my hope that the cross party LGBTIQ working group will create support for addressing these issues in a more timely manner."  Allyson Hamblett - 14th May 2015    

Credit: Allyson Hamblett

First published: Thursday, 14th May 2015 - 9:50am

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