Trans support groups have called on state and territory governments to review gender reassignment laws following a High Court decision to allow two Western Australian trans men to register as males on their birth certificates, without having surgery.

The High Court last week upheld an appeal by two (female-to-male) trans men who challenged the interpretation of the WA Gender Reassignment Act after they were denied a change to their birth certificates because they had not had hysterectomies.
Both had bilateral mastectomies and were considered infertile due to testosterone treatment.

WA Gender Project spokesman Aram Hosie said he believes the decision could reach beyond his home state.

“[The decision] will make it much easier for transsexual people in Western Australia to obtain documents that reflect their identity and physical appearance and I hope, given it’s the High Court, the precedent will then influence the way the law is applied in other states and territories,” Hosie told the Star Observer.

“They pointed out that laws like this … exist not to set difficult tests for people. They exist to make life easier for people who are transsexual.”

Although gender reassignment laws are worded differently in each state, the decision could have implications for South Australia which has laws identical to WA.

A federal Attorney-General’s Department spokeswoman told the Star Observer it’s up to state and territory governments to make any changes in light of the decision.

“The legal recognition of change of sex is primarily a matter for the states and territories, given their responsibility for their respective registries of births, deaths and marriages,” she said.

“The agenda for the next Standing Council on Law and Justice [formerly SCAG] meeting has not yet been determined and is a matter that all jurisdictions must agree on.”
TransGender Victoria spokesperson Sally Goldner said the decision should be applied to Victoria which requires surgery to change a birth certificate.

“There’s got to be a review of current arrangements very quickly,” Goldner told the Star Observer. “It looks like there are strong implications for all the states and territories which have appeared, shall we say, fairly surgery-based and now … there seem to to be some clear implications that that’s not the issue.”

Sydney Gender Centre spokeswoman Katherine Cummings welcomed the decision and said lobbying to change NSW’s laws has been ongoing.

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