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Birth certificates

Before you start
Once you have changed your gender on your birth certificate your current name and chosen gender will appear as if they were your official name and gender at birth. Your deadname and any other previous names will not appear. This means it is important you have legally changed your name before you update your birth certificate or that you ask the court for time to change your name. 

Legal standard
Applying to change your gender on your birth certificate is a statutory process and has a legal standard. 

This legal standard involves wishing to change your gender, being eligible (i.e. your birth is registered in New Zealand in most cases) and meeting a particular legal standard.

The medical standard varies from case to case but generally requires some degree of permanent physical change to conform with the gender you identify as (this does not necessarily mean surgery but often means surgery, and in all instances so far as required hormone treatment). 

What if I am under 18 years old?
There are slightly different processes and standards for changing your gender on your birth certificate if you are under 18 years old. 
You will need to have a guardian apply on your behalf. You apply under s29, Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relations Registration Act 1995. Your guardian needs to have raised you in your nominated sex or intend to raise you in your nominated sex and your guardian must wish your nominated sex to appear on your birth certificate. 

Unlike with adult applications the law does not require you have undergo medical procedures (though you can still apply on the basis of meeting the same medical as the adult application) rather the court can make the order on the basis that once the court has made an order you will undergo medical treatment in the future.

Applying to the Family Court
It is free to file in the family court for a change of gender on a birth certificate. However there may be other costs associated, for example support from medical professionals is generally required, you may have to pay your specialist or doctor to write their submission. 

You will need to fill in several forms from the family court

These forms are a little complicated. A lawyer can help you fill them in and act on your behalf but you should ring round and find out who has experience and how much they cost. A community law centre might also be able to give you support for filing in the forms.

A Brief guide to filing in forms yourself
 The forms you need to fill in (as of August 2015) are G1, G5, G7 and a general affidavit form. You can find the forms here.
You will need to provide the court with two copies of these forms, and keep a copy for yourself. 

G1 - Front page for documents
The Respondent is Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages, and their address will be the address for the Department of Internal Affairs. 
You will be applying for an order to change your gender to Female/Male on your birth certificate under either s28 of the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relation Registration Act 1995 (if you are 18 or over) or under s29 of the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relation Registration Act 1995 in you are under 18 years old. If you are under 18 the order can include a declaration as to further medical treatment the court considers reasonable for you to undergo on the basis of expert medical evidence. So you should talk to your medical professionals if you are seeking such declarations.

Leave the FAM No. section blank. As for which family court your case will be heard in - you can find your nearest court on the Family Court website. Usually the family court will be held at specific times in your regular district court building.

G5 - Application form for order (or declaration) on notice
A lot of information from the front page for documents in repeated in this form. The new information here is the last box - 'This application is made on the grounds that . . .'.
Your grounds come from the section of the Act you are applying under. These are very legal sounding because they come straight from the Act.

For section 28 your grounds will be:
  • Your birth is registered or able to be registered in under the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationship Registration Act 1995; and
  • Your sex is the opposite of your nominated sex; or your sex is indeterminate; or there is no information about your sex; and
  • You have assumed and intend to maintain, or you have always maintained, the gender identity of your nominated sex; and
  • You wish the nominated sex to appear on your birth certificate; and
  • On the basis of medical evidence you have assumed the gender identity of your nominated sex; and
  • on the basis of medical evidence you have undergone medical treatment as is usually regarded by medical experts to be desirable to enable you to to acquire a physical conformation that accords with the gender identity of a person of the nominated sex; and
  • on the basis of medical evidence will, as a result of the medical treatment undertaken, maintain a gender identity of a person of the nominated sex.
There are different grounds if you have undergone this legal process in another country and New Zealand recognizes that countries process. Talk to a lawyer if you think this might be you.

For section 29 your guardian must apply and fill in the forms rather than you directly.
For section 29 your guardians grounds will be:
  • It is in your child's best interests to brought up a person of the specified sex; and
  • your child's birth certificate should contain the specified sex; and
  • your child's birth is registered in New Zealand or able to be registered in New Zealand; and
  • your child's sex is opposite from their nominated sex; or they are of indeterminate sex; or there is no information regarding their sex; and
  • you intend to raise your child in their nominated sex; and
  • you wish your child's nominated gender to appear on their birth certificate; and
  • on the basis of medical evidence that your has undergone or, in the event the court issues an order will undergo; and medical treatment reasonably necessary to enable your child to assume and maintain the gender identity of a person of the nominated sex; and
  • on the basis of medical evidence that your child's physical conformation and gonadal and genital development are such that it is more likely that the child will be able (after undergoing any of the medical treatment not yet undergone) to assume the gender identity of a person of the nominated sex than it is that the child will be able to assume the gender identity of a person of the opposite sex (with or without medical intervention).


G7 - Information sheet
This should be straight forward to fill out. The form is a general form for the family court (which primarily deals with care of child issues) and therefore there is a lot of information that you don't need to include, but fill in what you can. The order you are applying for is the one is G5. 

Your affidavit

The following bullet points should be generally what you need to cover if you are applying for a birth certificate and you are 18 or older.

  • Your birth is registered, able to be registered or you are entitled to be in NZ indefinitely (include a copy of your birth certificate/proof of citizenship as proof of this)
  • State your age (your old birth certificate or other proof of identity can be used to prove your age)
  • State your birth sex and nominated sex
  • State you wish your birth certificate to be altered to reflect your nominated sex
  • Include information on how long you have lived in your nominated sex and that you intend to continue to live in your nominated sex (You can back this up by also providing letters of support from other people – medical evidence can be included to show experts believe you will continue to live in your nominated sex, also letters from employers/landlords/support people will provide evidence on when you began living as your nominated gender. All include your own story and evidence here.)
For section 29 you should adapt the grounds listed in G5 and answer as many as possible in your affidavit. Again your guardian should be doing the affidavit, rather than you directly, however your views should be taken into account. An application under s29 has not yet been undertaken in New Zealand however one way your views might be taken into account would be through the affidavit of a medical professional specializing in gender identity and child psychology. 

Your affidavit - medical standard 

You can include this information in your affidavit but it must be supported by a medical expert, the medical expert can do their own affidavit or they may just provide a letter of explanation and support. You might like to show your doctors/specialists/medical professional these bullet points if they are writing an affidavit or letter in support of you. If your medical expert does an affidavit they should use the same template as you did for your personal affidavit. 

  • Medical opinion stating you have assumed (or have always had) the gender identity of your nominated sex
  • You’ve undergone medical treatment desirable by medical experts to acquire a physical conformation with your nominated sex. Include what this treatment is.
  • Show that as a result of the medical treatment you will maintain the gender identity of your nominated sex. To do this explain what parts of the medical treatment are permanent in addition to a medical opinion you will live as your nominated sex. 
 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
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