FOR trans teen Skylar Mills, finally being able to transition has allowed him the freedom to be comfortable — not only with himself but also in society.
“This sounds so cheesy, but I feel I fit into the world more,” he said.
[showads ad=MREC]”It makes everything so much better and easier… I just feel so much more comfortable with myself and around other people.”
Following a two-year battle to get his father’s approval to begin transitioning, Mills finally started hormone treatment in February this year and is loving life.
Despite the improvement to his life there are some barriers making life tricky for the 18-year-old.
Joining forces with the LGBTI branch of Amnesty International Australia NSW, Mills wants to change laws in the state that prevent trans people from changing their gender on birth certificates without first having to undergo a surgical procedure to alter their reproductive organs.
“It makes trans people vulnerable… it makes more opportunities for vulnerability that don’t need to be there,” Amnesty’s NSW LGBTI network acting convenor Lizzi Price said.
“It takes that one unpleasant, discriminatory person and then they’ve got some ammunition.”
Mills describes a number of occasions where he has had to produce his birth certificate either for an employer or recently on a trip to RMS (Roads and Maritime Services) to replace a misplaced license and was then forced to explain why his gender is different on his birth certificate.
“There are some people in the world that it’s dangerous to be around them if they know, you shouldn’t have to hide who you are but it can be dangerous,” he said.
“It’s like your identity is not valid and you’re not see the way you should be been. It’s invalidating.”
All of that is set to change if Sydney state independent MP Alex Greenwich has anything to do with it.
On Wednesday night he raised as a Matter of Public Importance for the state parliament to address this issue and other rights for trans and intersex people and has drafted legislation to remove the need to undergo surgery before being able to change gender on a birth certificate, which he confirmed is being closely considered by the Attorney-General’s office and hopes will be passed in early 2016.
“I’m pretty confident it will pass in the parliament,” he said.
Greenwich said he was impressed with the support he has received from NSW Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton, who said in parliament more work needed to be done at a state and federal level to achieve LGBTI rights.
“I find it very worrying that many in the LGBTI community continue to experience… bullying, harassment, intimidation, even violence, based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status—and the impact this may have on their physical and mental health,” she said.
— Gabrielle Upton MP (@gabrielleupton) November 18, 2015
Price of Amnesty NSW welcomed the move to make trans and intersex issues a Matter of Public Importance but said the grassroots fight was not over and people need to keep campaigning their local MPs to ensure the legislation is passed.
“Amnesty International is heartened by the support from these members of parliament on the legal and administrative issues that affect the lives of trans and intersex people,” she said.
“Amnesty International is hopeful that given the support in both the parliament and increasing support in the community that we will see appropriate law reform soon which will reduce the levels of discrimination and hardship for trans and intersex people.”
Amnesty is also pushing the government to change the law that forces a married trans person who wants to change their gender on their birth certificate has to first divorce their spouse before lodging an application, under the Births Deaths and Marriages Act.
Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance and the Gender Centre is hosting an official event for TDoR tonight at the Newton Community Centre on 1 Bedford St, Newtown from 6.30pm.