It’s been an amazing start to spring with two great recent developments.

The changes blooming in the new season of rights are the changes regarding the marker on passports and the successful effort in New South Wales by Conor Montgomery regarding birth certificates.

The response to the passports change has been hugely moving. People originally from other countries, previously unable to travel, now have the chance to reunite with their families.

Others who just had dreams of travelling and seeing other cultures can revive those dreams.

These basic human rights, that those happy with the M or F assigned to them at birth perhaps sometimes don’t think about, are now available to all. I am also keenly aware that people experiencing intersex have also achieved similar happiness from the new approach.

The reaction from the wider community has been encouraging too. Most have been along the lines of “how come this hadn’t happened earlier”. The combination of humanity and common sense demonstrated by the new approach has been appreciated by all. A total win-win solution – yay!

The only concern raised has been that it means more Australians could be going overseas on Contiki tours, which is always a scary thought. I’ll remove my tongue from my cheek now.

Conor Montgomery deserves enormous credit for his efforts in tackling NSW Births, Deaths and Marriages regarding birth certificates. It takes enormous courage, resilience, patience and persistence to tackle ‘the system’. I dips me lid to people like Conor and others who have done similar things e.g. Martine Delaney and AH and AB (we’re still awaiting the high Court outcome on AH and AB’s challenge to WA birth certificate laws).

That the emphasis for the definition of ‘reproductive organs’ has moved away from lower surgery is a huge step forward and could well have implications for other states and territories. Conor’s comment, “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,” says it all.

Whether the issue is passports, birth certificates, marriage or federal equal opportunity law, it all simply comes down to people living their lives equally and having happier lives on a day-to-day basis. It’s that simple — and it’s that powerful, so let’s keep the springtime of progress blooming.

By Sally Goldner, VGLRL treasurer and spokesperson for TransGender Victoria.

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