Sydney transsexual man Conor Montgomery has won his fight to have his birth certificate changed from female to male after a battle with NSW Births Deaths and Marriages, who had initially refused to issue an amended certificate.
Montgomery, 51, a member of lobby group Sex And Gender Education (SAGE), applied to have the recording of ‘female’ on his birth certificate changed to ‘male’ in April last year but his application was refused on the grounds that he had not had any kind of genital surgery.
After having had a double mastectomy, and suffering from a range of medical conditions, Montgomery was advised by doctors not to undergo more surgeries and the law in NSW requires transsexual people to undergo surgery to their reproductive organs to be able to amend their birth certificates.
Montgomery’s lawyers argued that as he had undergone a bilateral mastectomy, and since breasts are reproductive organs, he should fulfill that legal requirement.
Two medical doctors certified that Montgomery had had reproductive organs removed and last month Conor received his amended birth certificate stating ‘male’.
“You cannot explain what it is like to hold that piece of paper in your hand when you have waited for it all your life,” Montgomery said.
“It’s been such battle and it was great to have that amended birth certificate that said male at last. When I die I want it to say male on the death certificate – in the meantime I’m just another pretty ordinary bloke.”
“This victory is not just for me, it’s for the generation being born today so that they don’t have to endure surgeries if that is not right for them, but can have a life of dignity.”
SAGE spokeswoman Tracie O’Keefe said that requirements for trans people to undergo genital surgery in order to change their birth certificate were a breach of their human rights.
“Some people cannot afford the expensive medical treatment available to trans men, and such surgery is not always successful because it is so complex,” O’Keefe said.
“All surgery bears the risk of death and it is unfair to force people to take that risk. Some people also do not want surgery. There is also the principle that no government should force people to undergo surgery of any kind to gain their basic human rights.”
Photo: Kate Jones