Victoria’s trans and gender diverse community and their allies will rally to advocate for identification document changes in Melbourne this Sunday.

The rally will call on all members of both houses of the Victorian parliament to pass legislation amending the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1996 which will see trans and gender diverse (TGD) Victorians provided with correct identification documents.

As trans and gender diverse folk and allies, we will rally on Sunday to celebrate the reality that we exist, we have always existed and are an integral part of a diverse, inclusive and equal society,” said trans advocate Rochelle Johnson.

“During the rally, we will take the time to affirm and endorse publicly the Andrews government’s amendments to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act and call on unilateral support by both houses in the Victorian Parliament.

“Trans and gender diverse Victorians have been waiting far too long to be able to access primary identification documents that accurately reflect who they are.

“The current laws require mandatory major surgery, regardless of whether it is needed, in order to gain such documentation,” Johnson said.

“In particular, for the first time in Victoria, this amendment when passed would acknowledge non-binary gender identities and provide legal identity documents for non-binary Victorians.”

Birth certificates are required for proof of identity in a variety of situations. For TGD people, this can mean having to out themselves as trans or gender diverse and risk placing themselves in physical and psychological danger when doing so.

“It’s cruel and unnecessary to ask people to put themselves in danger and reveal private information about their history every time they are required to produce identity documents,” said Johnson.

“Just as it was well past time for marriage equality in 2017, so too is it well past time for appropriate primary identity documents for trans and gender diverse people in 2019.”

“This will have important flow-on effects,” added Rosanne Bersten, who is a parent of a non-binary child.

“Currently, Victorian schools have no option other than ‘male’ and ‘female’ in their systems. The school told us that if we refused to select an option, they would rely on the birth certificate.

“That would be fine if my child had a birth certificate that reflected their identity.”

The rally will be addressed by a range of speakers, all of whom will be throwing their weight behind this amendment.

Among them are Johnson, Greens Senator Janet Rice, youth trans advocate Georgie Stone, advocate and radio personality Michelle Sheppard, Fa’afafine speaker and performance artist Amao Leota Lu, and trans ally and author Rebekah Robertson.

A similar bill was previously introduced and voted down in 2016, with supportive MPs saying the issue would not be able to be readdressed until after the next election.

In May, following the Victorian state election, advocates created a petition calling on Premier Daniel Andrews to act swiftly and make the legislation a reality.

Last year, the Northern Territory introduced reforms for trans and gender diverse people as well as intersex people, removing the forced sterilising surgery provision and introducing the capacity to officially identify as non-binary or intersex as well.

In April, Tasmania also passed the most progressive reforms yet for trans and gender diverse people, creating a challenge for other state and territory governments to follow suit.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison last year dismissed changes to how gender is displayed on birth certificates as “nonsense”.

This Sunday’s rally will be held on the steps of Parliament House in Melbourne at 3pm. For more information or to share the event with your friends, visit the rally’s Facebook event page by clicking here.

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