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Trans people won't have to divorce just to update their birth certificate

Australian Senator Janet Rice welcomed the move because it means her trans wife can update her birth certificate

Trans people won't have to divorce just to update their birth certificate
Penny Whetton with her wife Australian Greens Senator Janet Rice. | Photo: HRLC

The Australian state of Victoria hopes to change its laws which forces trans people to be divorce their spouses before they can change their birth certificate gender.

Australia recently legalized same-sex marriage but a legal anomaly means trans people to be unmarried to update their birth certificates. The law also requires that they undergo surgery on their reproductive organs.

Many trans people advocated to end ‘forced divorce’ and now the Victorian Government has responded.

No more forced divorce

The bill still needs to pass in parliament but trans advocates have welcomed the reform.

Australian Greens Senator Janet Rice is married to a trans woman, Penny. But Penny has not yet updated her birth certificate in order to remain married.

‘I’m so pleased that the Victorian government has introduced this legislation,’ Rice said.

‘Forcing trans people to divorce their partner before they can change their birth certificates is discriminatory.’

‘For my wife Penny and me, this means Penny will be able to affirm her gender on her birth certificate and we can stay married for many years to come.’

Transgender Victoria’s Chair Brenda Appleton welcomed the change. She said the law change meant trans people ‘will no longer have to make an impossible choice between staying married to the person they love and being legally recognised as their true gender’.

‘We are disappointed that other unnecessary legal barriers remain for trans and gender diverse people changing the gender marker on their birth certificates, including surgery, age restrictions, and our laws should have more options for non-binary and gender diverse people,’ Appleton said.

Victoria’s move comes after similar Queensland made similar changes earlier this month. South Australia and Australian Capital Territory have also reformed their birth certificate laws.


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