Victoria’s Legislative Assembly has today passed an amendment to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1996 removing barriers for trans and gender diverse people changing the legal gender on their birth certificates.
Currently, a person born in Victoria can only change the sex on their birth certificate if they have undergone “sexual reassignment surgery,” can provide statutory declarations from two medical practitioners verifying their surgery, and they can only be recognised as “male” or “female” on their birth certificate.
If the bill is made law people will be able to change their sex on their birth certificates without undergoing surgery as long as they can provide a supporting statement from an adult who has known them for at least a year stating that they believe the application is made in good faith.
The Bill passing this first hurdle follows a rally at the Victorian State Parliament yesterday.
Transgender Victoria spokesperson, Sally Goldner, called the passing of the amendment, “one step on the way to birth certificate equality.”
“Changing my sex on my birth certificate gives me a sense of safety that I’ve never had before,” Sage Akouri from Equality Australia said.
“My human right to identity documents that reflect who I am should never have been debated in Parliament.”
“[But] birth certificate reform is a vital step for trans rights. Trans activists have been working hard to make birth certificates more trans-inclusive and now we need everyone to help make sure that the upper house passes this bill too,” Kochava Lillit added.
Chief Executive of Equality Australia, Anna Brown said it remained to be seen whether the legislation would also be passed by Victoria’s Upper House, so the fight is not over yet.
“A birth certificate is the first document a person has – it says who you are, and where you belong,” Brown said.
“Being forced to use ID that doesn’t match your identity creates daily problems when applying for a job, going to Centrelink or enrolling to study.”
“We still face a fight in the Legislative Council – and we’ll be contacting those MPs to let them know how important this reform is.”
The Bill will now move to the Legislative Council where a final debate and vote will take place next week.