Last week I gave my first ever oral submission, which I'm pretty sure was awful given how nervous I was! I'm not going to attempt digging up the recording and subject you to that, but I will share the "notes" I made in preparation, which I had intended to use as a basis and build around. I stayed up pretty late writing them though and ended up just reading directly from them, so what you see here is almost verbatim. With more time I would've liked to smooth it out a bit and improve the ending, but this is what I managed with the short timeframe.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my concerns about Supplementary Order Paper 59 on the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill today.
According to the Department of Internal Affairs website, "A New Zealand Birth Certificate is an official document containing registered information about a person's birth as at the date of issue." (emphasis mine)
As an official, legal document, a Birth Certificate should contain the facts of a person's birth, and if we allow people to change details as they choose, we render the document untrustworthy, and ultimately meaningless. Whatever choices we make later in life do not and cannot change the details of our births.
For many of my childhood years, I wanted to celebrate my birthday with a big, mid-summer barbecue. Unfortunately for me, I was born right in the middle of winter! Perhaps I should apply to change my birthdate?!
As crazy as that would be, claiming that I am six months older or younger than I actually am would be a much smaller thing than claiming my sex is different than identified at birth.
I loved studying genetics during my high school years and it fascinates me that our XX or XY chromosomes are found in every cell throughout our bodies -- except for a very small portion of the population who are intersex. Many cells behave differently based on these chromosomes, and no amount of adding or removing body parts changes our DNA.
We've had a few male cats castrated over the years and although their reproductive tendencies were curbed, they never stopped acting like boys. I guess the vet left their DNA intact!
Of course, allowing people to choose and change their identified sex at will opens the door wide for pedophiles and other sex offenders to create more victims. This proposed change would allow boys and men into girls' and women's schools, sports teams, prisons, and bathrooms. If an offender is sentenced for rape he needs to be locked safely away from women where he can't make any more victims, not to change his birth certificate so he can be sent to a women's prison, as this proposal would seem to allow.
Regarding parental information on Birth Certificates, biology is very clear that there are two parents, a father and a mother. Birth Certificates should be equally clear; there's no need to introduce ambiguity with the neutral term "parent" replacing the more specific terms "father" and "mother".
For these reasons I am deeply concerned about Supplementary Order Paper 59. Please, throw it out.
Thank you for your time.