Australian and international experts in trans health have called for Australian states and territories to overhaul their laws around gender recognition.

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) and the Australian and New Zealand Professional Association for Transgender Health (ANZPATH) have jointly submitted a letter in support of scrapping the mandatory divorce requirement for married trans people seeking to correct the sex on their birth certificate.

Each state and territory is required to update its laws by this December to come into line with federal marriage equality.

WPATH and ANZPATH have further called for governments to “use this opportunity to examine other requirements that prevent transgender people from amending birth certificates to match their gender identity, and which therefore impact on their health and wellbeing”.

They called the requirement by most states for trans people to have surgery before changing their birth certificate “egregious”, noting that it breaches international human rights law.

“Transgender people, regardless of how they identify or appear, should enjoy the gender recognition all persons expect and deserve,” they wrote.

“Medical and other barriers to gender recognition for transgender individuals may harm physical and mental health.

“WPATH opposes all medical requirements that act as barriers to those wishing to change legal sex or gender markers on documents.”

The organisations have asked the state and territory governments to work with trans people towards amending the laws.

“We urge the relevant government authorities, as well as health and rights agencies, to work with representatives of the Australian transgender community in order to bring about change in this area,” they wrote.

“We stress that this is an important health and wellbeing issue.”

Zoey Campbell from advocacy group Trans Health Australia welcomed the recommendations.

“WPATH and ANZPATH have delivered the clear message that using their trans health guidelines to deny legal recognition is harmful and entirely unjustified,” she told the Star Observer.

“Their statement will become a universally accepted statement on trans healthcare and human rights.”

A separate petition calling for state and territory governments to remove the barriers for trans people correcting their birth certificates has so far gathered more than 1,000 signatures.

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