‘Male’ ‘Female’ ‘Whatever’ on Passports

4 December 2012

NZ Herald 5 Dec 2012
New Zealand’s tiny transgender community is celebrating a quiet change that allows people to change their gender on their passports by a simple declaration. The change, which came into force on Friday without any public announcement, allows people to state their gender as male, female or “X” (indeterminate/unspecified), without the need to change their birth certificates or citizenship records. “It’s amazing,” said Joey Macdonald, an Auckland mental health worker who changed the gender on his passport from female to “X” and who chairs the transgender support group GenderBridge. “It means that on this particular provision, New Zealand is leading the way and is one of the leading countries in terms of reducing barriers to having a national identity document for transpeople.” A Human Rights Commission report recommended in 2008 that people should have the right to change their gender on their passports and other documents.

The law was changed in 2009 to allow changes from male to female or vice versa by a declaration from the Family Court, and a change from either gender to “X” by a statutory declaration. A Family Court declaration is still required for a male/female gender change on citizenship documents, but this policy is under review. A Passport Office spokesman said gender changes on passports could now be made purely by a statutory declaration stating a person’s preferred sex or gender identity and how long they have had that identity.
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10852012
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