Well, here we are. The ‘Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Amendment Act’, 2021 (BDMRR) came into effect yesterday. All barriers to changing one’s official sex are gone, replaced by hotly contested ideas about sexuality and gender, enshrined into law. Gone is the recognition that loathing of one’s physical reality is a mental health condition, and that changing govt-issued identification papers for mental health purposes should not be undertaken lightly.
Birth certificates represent the first and usually truest record of each citizen – not necessarily on the paper, but in the registry. Meddling with these details carries a range of risks, including fraud, infringements on women’s rights and protections, and child safeguarding issues.
Yet as of now, any man can print out a form, have a shave and pop on a frock (or not), stroll down to his local Citizens Advice Bureau for an audience with the JP, and legally change his sex on the spot. He needs only to sign a declaration saying he’s positive he feels like a woman on the inside, pay $260.00 for the full name & sex change service, and just like that, he will shortly receive a crisp new birth certificate, stating that he was born female. A man perhaps like the UK’s Alex Drummond, who claims to be ‘widening the bandwidth of what it means to be a woman’. Indeed.
Here at home, we have Cambridge man Matthew Richard Nelson, aka ‘Emma Pandora Electra’ Nelson, currently being validated by the Department of Corrections at Auckland Women’s Prison, after a ‘frenzied’ triple-stabbing he committed in an attempt to murder his ex-girlfriend. According to the arrest summary, he thought his arrest and mouth swabbing for DNA was “…a bit excessive, for having only stabbed three people”. His new certificate will likely read, Name: Pandora Electra, Sex: Female.
A pregnant woman can make the same declaration in reverse, and swear under oath that she is actually a man despite all evidence to the contrary, including the fact that no man has ever become pregnant in the entire history of humanity.
For children aged 15 and under who come home from school claiming to be ‘non-binary’, a parent or guardian (including Oranga Tamariki) can now swiftly provide them with matching birth certificates. The terms ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ have been deliberately conflated in the wording of the Act, so that there will now be two new ‘sex’ options, legitimising at state level the idea that there are more than two human sexes. These two new sexes that suddenly exist are ‘non-binary’ and ‘other gender’. To do this to a child’s official history, all a guardian has to do is provide a letter of support from a ‘suitably qualified third party’.
‘Qualified’ in this legislation appears to be as fluid a term as gender; here it means ‘over the age of 18 and known to the child for over a year’. These people do not swear that the change is in the child’s best interests. They swear that the child definitely understands what the consequences are of amending the sex on their birth certificate and wants to get it done ASAP.
For the slightly older teen, ages 16 & 17, no parental permission is required; only the letter from the ‘suitably qualified’ older boyfriend with no obligation to put their best interests first will be necessary.
Further, if the name change is made at the same time or before the sex marker change, the birth certificate will have only the new name and sex, with no accompanying marker to say that a change has ever been made. The previous changes will be kept on file, but impossible for anyone except entities who already have Authorised Information Sharing Agreements (AISAs) to obtain. The focus of the Act is to ensure no ‘trans’ person is ‘outed’, and applicants will be advised to change both name and sex at the same time, to both lessen the risk of undue administrative burden and fraud, and make sure that only the new identity is included on the new certificate. Naturally, we understand that not all fraud will be caught, and is likely to increase.
If our original man decides that he was actually not ‘born in the wrong body’, he can change his sex back again in twelve months’ time. He can do this as many times as he likes, and no questions will be asked. He simply pays the fee again, and makes the declaration. This is because ‘gender is fluid’, and can ‘change over time’. (This contradicts the other bill related to sex and gender, the ‘Conversion Therapy bill’, which states that a child’s gender identity is ‘innate’, and that to question it is a form of conversion therapy, for which a parent could be prosecuted). All of this can take place without recourse to a single mental health professional or any change in habits, clothing, or any other requirement.
Despite steadfast opposition from women and organisations around New Zealand, arguing that the Act would undermine protections for women and children, Jan Tinetti, now the Minister for Women, did not accept any element of risk, claiming that the position of her Ministry is that ‘transwomen are women’, and there will be no erosion of women’s rights. She was wrong. Transwomen are all men, and clear evidence of harm to women and children is growing globally, while women who wish to talk about these issues are being silenced.
In the Canadian iteration of the BDMRR, ‘Bill C16’, Senate submitter Paul Dirks reported a 1.8% increase in sexual offending against women in those states that had adopted gender-inclusive legislation, including reports from department store Target, advising that there were more incidents of voyeurism in the year since adopting a gender-friendly policy than in all the previous years combined.
New Zealand women who disagree with this legislation are routinely described as ‘hateful’, and ‘anti-trans’. One women’s rights group, Speak Up For Women (SUFW), attempted to hold public meetings on the topic for years, repeatedly finding that local councils were refusing to hire them space to speak on the basis of their views. Finally, Daphna Whitmore, on behalf of SUFW, brought a case to the High Court, Whitmore V. PNCC, in which the presiding judge found that SUFW “could not rationally be described as a hate group”. Only then were their events permitted to go ahead.
This High Court decision has been ignored by almost everyone in government and the legacy media ever since, and those who oppose Self-Sex ID and the ideas and consequences it promotes are still regularly described as hateful bigots.
The inevitable final result of this constant character assassination was the events that unfolded at Albert Park in March 2023, where thousands of New Zealanders were convinced that a small group of middle-aged mothers, grandmothers and lesbians was actually a cabal of homophobic neo-Nazi supporters and set upon the women in a screaming horde, injuring several.
Proponents of the Bill claim that the opposition is overblown, and that it is especially essential for a child’s well-being to be able to have their gender identity affirmed. This is controversial, at best.
New Zealand has not caught up to the rest of the world in backing away from the ‘affirmation-only’ model of care for children, which has already happened in Sweden, Norway, Finland, France, the UK, and a large number of US states. Over 1000 families are suing the UK’s Tavistock ‘Gender’ Clinic for the harm done to their children, a case which could have massive financial implications for the NHS. Children who have been ‘transed’ by the adults around them are now coming of age and thousands of young people around the world are grieving for the loss of their fertility and their healthy bodies. Many are angry that they were encouraged to make such momentous decisions during childhood.
NZ women’s rights groups are particularly concerned about Oranga Tamariki and the outsized impact that this legislation will have on the children we used to call ‘wards of the state”. These children are already vulnerable. They are more likely to present with emotional and mental health issues. They have disrupted familial connections and are more likely to have been victims of physical and sexual abuse.
Oranga Tamariki have over 70% Māori and Pacifica youth in their dubious ‘care’.The longer this all goes on, the more these children will be exposed to gender ideology everywhere; at school, at the foster or state home, with their social workers, their counsellors, doctors and teachers. They will be unable to escape – and many may not want to. What traumatised child who feels unloved by the adults around them can resist ideas of perfect acceptance, an answer to their feelings of sadness and low self-worth, and the promise of belonging to a unique, celebrated community, all dressed up in rainbows?
According to Oranga Tamariki (OT), ‘Rainbow children and youth’ are more likely to be in care than other children, making up 20% of the total number of children in care. Oranga Tamariki, like all our government ministries, has gone all in on ‘gender’. Their approach and justifications could be the subject of a whole article by itself, but their latest research documents make it clear that they believe that pre-colonial Te Ao Māori was a ‘gender-diverse’ environment, where multiple genders were ‘celebrated’ and ‘revered’, and that “adopting a Māori worldview” would support all children.
There is no evidence whatsoever for these claims about the pre-colonial Māori view on ‘’gender’, or that this fictional worldview would support all children. What is more likely to happen if gender ideology is not removed from law and policy is that a disproportionate number of Māori and Pacific Island children will have their bodies damaged by unnecessary medical interventions, and their history robbed from them by people who have rewritten it to suit their own agenda. They may even disappear. How will a parent or grandparents find their child if they have had a name and sex change? Where does one begin looking? How will name changes and sex changes be recorded in OT administration? Do we really think that OT can be trusted to properly administer such records? How many New Zealand children will be permanently harmed by the government this time?
There is just one piece of good news with which to close on. Speak Up For Women and their supporters succeeded in convincing our legislators to include a clause that provides for sex-segregated spaces in law. Factors other than a person’s stated gender or the sex listed on their birth certificate may be taken into consideration when determining sex, in order to determine a person’s right to enter a sex-segregated space. The trick is, how many groups and organisations will create policy around gender identity as opposed to sex.
Thus far, there are men in women’s sports and prisons already, and although they have been informed that they are entitled in law to provide a female-only space, Christchurch’s Linwood Pool has refused to change their women’s swimming session to women-only, insisting, like Minister for Women Tinetti, that ‘transwomen are women”. In practice, this means that a single mother with a 7-year-old son cannot go to the women’s swimming session with her male child, but a fully intact adult man can join in.
To beat this avalanche of ideas about gender, children, sexuality and identity, we will all need to stand up. Speak Up For Women have given us a tool we can use in law, despite the fact that Self-Sex ID is now a reality. To win back our rights and protections for our children, we all need to start to wield it, and insist that factors other than gender be taken into account when determining who gets to come into our spaces. If we don’t, this gender madness won’t stop, and more women and children will get hurt. Our sports, changing rooms, awards, domestic violence shelters, lactation specialists, words, swimming sessions, prisons, heroines, rape crisis centres and our children are all up for grabs right now. This election cycle, we have another chance to say we don’t like the BDMRR. Let’s say it loud, and not let anyone take any more of our rights away.