Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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"Get Your Gavel Out of My Pants": Replacing the Medical and Legal Scrutiny of Trans Bodies with Self-Identification as a Basis for Changing Sex Markers on Birth Certificates

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posted on 2021-11-15, 01:15 authored by Blincoe, Emily

Section 28 of the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act 1995 allows people to apply to the Family Court to change the sex marker on their birth certificate. This essay argues that this provision is out-dated and does not serve the needs of the trans community. It is based on the medical model of sex, and requires medical evidence that the applicant’s body conforms sufficiently to that of the “nominated sex”. This essay suggests a reform based on the self-identification model, which exists in Argentina for birth certificates, and in New Zealand for passports and drivers’ licences. Such a reform of s 28 would bring birth certificates in line with these other documents, leading to more consistency and increased respect for the human rights of trans people.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Name

LL.B. (Honours)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970118 Expanding Knowledge in Law and Legal Studies

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Research Paper or Project



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Law


McDonald, Elisabeth