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Australian state proposes birth certificate law reform for trans people

Australian state proposes birth certificate law reform for trans people

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The Australian state government of Victoria are to vote on a bill which would allow trans, intersex and gender non-binary people to change their sex on their birth certificate without having to undergo medical treatment.

Under the current system, those wishing to change the sex on their birth certificates must first have undergone gender affirmation surgery. 

The reform bill was introduced to the Labor state government on Tuesday (18 June). 

If passed, the law would allow applicants to choose the sex listed on their birth certificates. They may register as male, female, or any other trans or gender non-binary 

The bill would also acknowledge that some trans, intersex and gender non-conforming people are unable to – or opt not to – undergo any medical procedures. 

The Victoria attorney general has said the current regime is ‘painful’ and that it sends a ‘false message’.

Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia, have all removed the requirement for gender affirmation treatment to change the sex on birth certificates, ABC News reports.

Children will also be allowed to change the sex on their birth certificate, though only with the consent of parents and a medical professional. 

However, the state retains the right to refuse sexual identities which they consider offensive or obscene, and those which are not recognizable descriptors. 

‘We’re removing this cruel and unfair barrier’ says state AG

This will be the second time the bill has been presented to the state government. On a previous occasion in 2016, the motion was voted down.  

Jill Hennessy, the attorney general of the state, said current system needed urgent reforms. 

‘The current surgery requirement sends a painful and false message that there is something wrong with being trans, gender diverse or intersex that needs to be ‘fixed’ – that’s why we’re removing this cruel and unfair barrier,’ she said in a statement.

Premier Daniel Andrews also gave his support to the bill on its second outing.

‘In this state, equality is not negotiable and we are well-known — and I think well-viewed — for that fact that we treat every Victorian equally with respect and dignity and that who you are is enough, you’re valued for exactly who you are,’ Andrews said.

While the bill is expected to pass, some politicians expressed concerns.

Opposition leader, Michael O’Brien, said that it was still unclear if birth certificates registered the person’s sex at birth, or how they currently identify themselves.

‘We don’t know if it’s going to be exactly the same bill [as last time] or a different bill or slightly different, so we’ll see the detail and then we’ll make a reasoned decision,’ O’Brien told reporters.

The Catholic church’s episcopal vicar for life, marriage and family, Father Tony Kerin, also said that the church did not ‘approve or appreciate’ the reform.

‘When it comes to gender, we stick with the science, we count chromosomes,’ he told ABC radio.

Last month, trans people in Victorias’s largest city, Melbourne, grouped together to change the sex on their IDs en mass.

See also

Here’s how Australian sport will do better by trans people

LGBTI Australians recognized in Queen’s Birthday Honors 

Australia decides not to ban poppers