A group of trans activists in New Zealand organizing in under the name “Trans Dignity Collective” submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Health, proposing that references to a patient’s biological sex be omitted from medical records because the concept of biological sex is “derogatory” to trans people. Even a field for “biological sex recorded at birth” (and presumably fields for “gender identity” and “pronouns”) is “particularly bad as it implies a fixed concept that cannot be changed.” It’s almost like they understand that biological sex is a material reality one can’t simply identify in or out of. Imagine that.
In August, the New Zealand Governance and Administration Committee issued a report on the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Bill, recommending that the bill be passed with proposed amendments regarding the process by which individuals may change the gender marker on their birth certificates.
In response, Dunedin-based feminist Charlie Montague submitted a petition to the New Zealand Parliament requesting the government “consult women on how sex changes based solely on self-identification would impact women-only services, spaces, data-gathering, and monitoring of sex-based discrimination.” Montague explains that since the government is considering allowing individuals to self-identify as women without any requirement of medical treatment, the government should also consider how such a move would affect women and girls’ rights, safety, and privacy.
A group called Lesbian Rights Alliance Aotearoa (“LRAA”) also issued a statement opposing the proposed changes in the bill, noting that current “New Zealand law requires a burden of proof in order to change legal sex. There is a family court process to ensure abusers do not take advantage of the system. A shift to simply filling out a form to change sex shows a disregard for women’s human rights.”
Renee Gerlich, who recently upset trans activists when she designed a set of posters commemorating the women who fought for women’s suffrage which featured the phrase “Suffragists fought for the female sex. Stop re-writing history,” has also publicly opposed the proposed legislation.
Several Green and Labour Party MPs have issued tweets in support of the idea that men who identify as women are actually women:
A group called Speak Up For Women is planning to host a discussion on September 6, 2018 regarding the “proposed NZ legislation that would allow legal sex to be declared based solely on self-identification.”
Battle lines drawn over sex self-identification
Feminist MPs throw support behind transgender women