Langley v Registrar General of Births Deaths and Marriages [2020] NZFC 3355

Published 21 September 2020

Application for declaration of change of sex on birth certificate — transgender rights — female to male — medical treatment — gender reassignment surgery — Births, Death, Marriages and Relationships Registration Act 1995, ss 27A & 28 — "Michael" v Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages [2008] 27 FRNZ 58. The applicant sought a declaration as to sex on his birth certificate. The applicant had been born a biological female but experienced gender dysphoria through childhood and eventually, after counselling and support from friends and family, decided to transition to a male. The applicant started testosterone treatment and later obtained chest surgery. Letters of support from the applicant's employer, various physicians and psychologists demonstrated that the applicant wanted to live and was living as a man, and that there were no current mental health concerns. In order for a court to grant a declaration under s 28 of the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Act 1995 ("the Act"), it must be satisfied that the procedural criteria is met. The applicant was an "eligible adult", being over the age of 18, and the administrative steps were met. The substantive test from the "Michael" case requires a three-step assessment: firstly, that the birth certificate contains information that the applicant is a person of the sex opposite to the nominated sex; secondly, whether the applicant has always intended to maintain that gender identity; and thirdly, satisfaction on expert medical evidence of the applicant's psychological assumption of the assigned gender identity; the applicant's adoption of the physical conformation of the gender identity as a result of medical treatment; and the permanence of the physical change brought about by the applicant's past or current treatment. The Judge concluded that all elements of the test were met, granting the application and directing that a new birth certificate to reflect the change from female to male be issued accordingly. Judgment Date: 25 May 2020. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *