TRANS* and intersex residents in the ACT can now officially change the gender on their birth certificates without requiring reassignment surgery after a landmark win in the territory’s parliament this afternoon.

The amendments to the Births Deaths and Marriages Registration Act, which passed without opposition, allow individuals to alter their birth certificate to identify as male, female or X, and all that is required is for a doctor or psychologist to certify they have received ”appropriate clinical treatment” – which has not been defined so as to leave it open to the doctor or psychologist.

The changes also now provide intersex people with the option to change the sex recorded on their birth certificate.

The time limit for births to be registered in the ACT has also been extended to six months under the approved amendments, giving parents time to decide how to register the gender of their child in cases when they are not clearly male or female.

Parents in the ACT can also now have their child’s gender officially changed if they believe it in their child’s best interests and when they have received ”appropriate clinical treatment”. Gender reassignment surgery is also no longer required.

A new X category under the amendments will now bring ACT birth certificates into line with Australian passports.

Leading advocacy groups have welcomed the news.

“These reforms importantly follow the lead of the Federal Government’s passport policy, which provides an alternate, non- surgical regime for change of sex on key identification documents,” ACT LGBTIQ Advisory Group chair Heidi Yates said in a statement.

“We know these changes will make a significant difference to the lives of transgender and intersex persons born in the Territory for generations to come.

“We encourage other States and Territories to take similar action in reviewing their birth registration systems, with a view to improving recognition of all transgender and intersex Australians.”

Organisation Intersex International Australia president Morgan Carpenter echoed her sentiments, but said although it was a big step in the right direction, there was still more work to do.

“We accept the outcome of today’s debate, and thank the opposition leader for his acknowledgement of our concerns,” he said.

“We thank the Attorney General for listening to our concerns but we are particularly concerned that he believes that this matter concludes any legislative activity for the intersex and LGBTI communities.

“There is much work left to do, given that parental choice, and medical recommendation, still results in genital ‘normalisation’ interventions on infants – interventions that have been condemned by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, and that are the subject of a Senate Committee report.”

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