Updated 2013-06-13: Added information on the new NZTA driver's license policy
Want to help me keep this up-to-date? Feel free to email me megan at megan.geek.nz
So the information I've found around the internet on health resources and information related to transitioning in New Zealand has been inadequate and out of date at best. This is an attempt to provide information on what I've managed to dig up throughout my transition. It mainly focuses on the Wellington region but hopefully people outside of the region can gain some benefit from it.
- Mental Health Professionals
- General Practioners
- Support Groups
- Name Changes
- Birth Certificate Changes
- Human Rights and Employee Rights
- Driver's Licenses
Part of the requirements for treatment with the Capital and Coast District Health Board is based on the older WPATH standards of care that require 3 months of visits to a Mental Health Professional before a referral can be made to the DHB for EEI/HRT. The two most experienced MHPs that I know of in the Wellington region are:
The NZAF's Awhina Centre also offers free counselling for gender identity issues though their resources and experience may be limited.
Having a GP experienced with trans* health care is obviously important. I've had Dr Julian Foster at the Terrace Medical Centre recommended to me and my experiences with him have been good so far.
If you're under 25 and in Wellington, Evolve Wellington Youth Service offer a great range of services including general practitioners and counselling.
Tranzform – a social group for trans* people under 30 years old. Website.
Forge South – Support group for those under 30. Facebook page.
Gender Queery – via the Q-Youth Inc Facebook page.
Changing your name is fairly simple in New Zealand, you need to make a Statutory Declaration (an officially signed and witnessed statement) through the Department of Internal Affairs. The process is laid out on their website and costs $127.70 to be processed.
In order to change your gender marker on your birth certificate, a declaration is required from the Family Court. The DIA has put together a page on their website detailing the process.
Explicit protection for gender identity is not provided under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act. However the Solicitor General in 2006 gave a statement outlining their belief that as per cases in other countries, violations of human rights with regards to gender identity would be protected under the sex discrimination category. So far this has not been tested in court.
With regards to employee rights specifically, the Department of Labour has a section on their website outlining minimum rights and their advice on a number of issues that may arise in the workplace.
As of November 2012, the Department of Internal Affairs has updated their internal policy for passports to allow applicants to change their gender marker to their preferred one (M, F or X) with a statutory declaration. You can find the new policy and information on how to apply here on the New Zealand passports website. I will be updating this page at a later date to include a statutory declaration form you can use if you are not confident about writing your own.
After a complaint brought against the New Zealand Transport Authority by the Wellington Community Law Centre on behalf of a client, the NZTA have agreed to address their policy on gender marker changes on driver's licenses. Similar to the change the DIA made last year with passports, a change of gender will simply require a statutory declaration from the license holder. As of the 13th of June, there will be a 6 week delay before the NZTA's website is updated and the required administrative changes to be made. See the announcement on the Human Rights Commission website for more information.