A simple human error on a woman’s birth certificate has led to years of stress and enormous expense as she tried to fix the mistake — yet mother of five Kim Walmsley is still identified as a boy on the legal document.
Liverpool-born Mrs Walmsley is now 50, but only realised it had been accidentally recorded that she was born male when she applied for a full-time Australian visa 10 years ago.
The registrar’s error was made on her birth certificate shortly after she was born in February 1965. It may have been a simple mistake, but it’s been far from simple trying to get it sorted out.
When Mrs Walmsley couldn’t get a new passport, she and her husband Jack had to return home from their “dream life” in Australia. To make matters worse, they’ve been told that their marriage document is effectively void, because they’re both registered as boys on their birth certificates.
According to Mrs Walmsley, even the Archbishop of Canterbury has told her that her 23-year marriage is not legal in the eyes of the Church.
“The whole thing is absolutely disgusting. I’ve lived nearly 40 years not realising I was actually registered as a boy and then all of a sudden my whole life fell apart,” Mrs Walmsley told the Daily Mail.
“We had a big white wedding in a church and spent a fortune and it was all for nothing. My original birth certificate bought by my parents says girl. When we were applying to emigrate we applied for a copy and then we realised I was registered as a boy.”
Officials have acknowledged that the mistake is genuine, and agreed to add a note in the margin of the certificate with words to that effect, but they claim the original cannot be changed — and that is the only document officially recognised by the court.
“I believe it is my right, because I was born a girl, to have ‘boy’ removed and have girl put in its place,” said Mrs Walmsley, who has spent thousands of pounds on legal fees trying to resolve the issue.
Mr and Mrs Walmsley and their children Jack, 27, Harry, 25, Jimmy, 24, Charlie, 22, and Melissa, 20, have experienced homophobic abuse as a result of the situation.
“[People] picked up on what was going on and had told other kids at school that their parents were two men, even though I’m quite clearly a woman,” said Mrs Walmsley. “There was a period of about two weeks when our home was vandalised and the word ‘queers’ was painted all over the garage and the garden wall.”