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Tasmania pushes ahead with sweeping trans equality law reforms

Tasmania pushes ahead with sweeping trans equality law reforms

Transforming Tasmania have been campaigning for change to Tasmania's trans laws

The Tasmanian Lower House has passed landmark transgender equality reforms. The reforms, with added amendments from Labor politicians, go forward to the Upper House for consideration.

If they become law, they will be the among the most progressive trans laws in the world. They will remove a child’s sex being automatically included on birth certificates.

Tasmania and LGBTI rights

Tasmania, an island state just south of the Australian mainland, has a poor history when it comes to LGBTI rights. As recently as the 1980s, state premier Robin Gray said gay people were unwelcome on the island. The state didn’t decriminalize homosexual sexual activity until 1997. It also only decriminalized cross-dressing in 2000.

Fortunately, for sexual minorities and trans people, it has progressed rapidly since that time.

Like the rest of Australia, it has equal age of consent laws, same-sex marriage and gay adoption.

However, it only recognizes a trans person’s gender if they have undergone gender reassignment procedures and, if married, divorced.

This looks set to change. Today, local politicians from Labor and the Greens joined with Liberal Speaker of the House, Sue Hickey, to pass reforms removing hurdles for transgender and gender diverse people who want their gender officially recognized.

‘Tasmanians voted emphatically for the principle of equality’

Transforming Tasmania spokesperson, Roen Meijers, welcomed the move. He said, ‘I applaud the Tasmanian Lower House for providing greater equity, dignity and hope for transgender, gender diverse and intersex Tasmanians.’

Referencing last year’s Australian postal vote on marriage equality, he went on, ‘A year ago Tasmanians voted emphatically for the principle of equality and it’s wonderful to see that principle finally being put into practice for transgender, gender diverse and intersex Tasmanians.

‘It’s particularly important that this reform has passed on the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, the day where we remember those transgender people who lives were lost to prejudice, hate and violence.

‘We will now turn our attention to the Upper House which we will brief on Thursday.’

Self-declaration and birth certificates

The legislation does away with the need for trans people to divorce or undergo gender reassignment surgery in order for their gender to be legally recognized. Instead, they will have their gender recognized simply through making a statutory declaration.

However, amendments to the legislation added by Labor take the reforms beyond this. If passed, parents will need to ‘opt in’ to have the sex of any new child recorded on their birth certificate, rather than it automatically included.

Supporters hope to see the legislation approved by early December.

See also

Anti-trans stickers pop-up around Tasmania as state debates legal reform

Tasmania gets its own dedicated LGBTI memorial 30 years after mass arrests