Change of gender registration made easier for transgenders

In future, it will be easier for transgenders to change the gender on their birth certificate. The 'expert's certificate' from a psychologist or a doctor that is required under the current regulations will be replaced with a self-certification form to be completed by the person involved. Furthermore, young people aged under 16 will be given the right to lodge an application with the court to have their gender registration changed. There is currently no provision for this. This is the crux of the letter that Minister Dekker (Legal Protection) submitted to the House of Representatives today. 'By simplifying the procedure, I want to contribute to the further emancipation of transgenders', the minister stated.

The letter was written in response to the evaluation of the Transgender Act that came into force on 1 July 2014. The evaluation showed that the Act meets a specific need and that its implementation has not led to any major issues, in spite of the objections raised by some health care providers and interest groups. They consider the expert's certificate, which is intended to prevent a person from rushing into a change of gender registration without due consideration, both unnecessary and expensive. It also violates the right to self-determination. Furthermore, they have expressed concerns about the current age limit, as some young people choose to be known by another gender before they reach the age of 16. Minister Dekker takes these objections seriously and has opted to amend the regulations while maintaining the necessary safeguards, e.g. to prevent identity fraud.
The future procedure will be a two-step process. First, applicants must lodge an application to change their gender registration with the municipal authority. They must confirm this application in person at the municipal authority desk after four weeks, following which the civil registrar will amend the birth certificate. Due to the extra care that needs to be exercised with regard to young people aged under 16, this group will need to lodge an application with the court.