Advocates are celebrating the “historic” passage of landmark legal reforms for trans and gender diverse people in Tasmania.
After being passed by the Upper House last week, the legislation was returned to the Lower House for assent, where Tasmania’s Liberal government sought to delay the bill by preventing it from being introduced for debate.
The new laws remove the mandatory surgery requirement for changing gender on a birth certificate, instead allowing self-identification through a statutory declaration.
Young people older than 16 will be able to change their gender marker without parental consent, but with appropriate counselling.
Tasmanians will now have the option of removing gender markers from birth certificates, meaning parents of newborns can leave gender off their child’s birth certificate.
This means parents of intersex children will be able to opt out of displaying gender on birth certificates, minimising the incentive for unnecessary surgery on infants.
The legislation also places restrictions on hate speech and offensive language on the grounds of gender identity and intersex status, and the forced divorce requirement where a trans person would have to divorce their spouse in order to change their gender marker will be removed.
“This is a historic day for transgender and gender diverse people, not only in Tasmania but around the world,” said Transforming Tasmania’s Martine Delaney, who has been a tireless advocate for the reforms.
“This legislation ranks among the most inclusive and equitable in the world. I thank all those MPs and members of the community who have contributed to the enactment of these historic new laws.
“Today I feel prouder to be a Tasmanian than I have ever felt before.”
“Young transgender and gender diverse Tasmanians will grow up in a different world from the one we have known because the law will respect and protect who they are,” added campaigner and Transforming Tasmania spokesperson Roen Meijers.
“I am so impressed by those trans and non-binary folk who have bravely told their stories and who have endured the hate campaigns we have seen in recent months.
“I am confident none of the supposedly dire consequences predicted by the Government will come to pass and that this reform will have nothing but a positive impact.
“I hope our achievement inspires the rest of the nation to move quickly towards the reforms that are so overdue in this country.”
Spokesperson for Tasmanian Families for Transgender Kids, Candace Harrington, said that “parents of transgender and gender diverse kids are just so happy that our kids will no longer face legal discrimination and will be able to live their lives true to themselves.”
“We are over the moon about these landmark reforms and are deeply grateful to all those politicians who have listened to our stories and supported us along the way.
“My message to other parents around Australia is to tell your personal stories as we have done. We overcame prejudice and politics and you can too.”
Equality Australia’s Aram Hosie noted that Tasmania’s progress shows how much the rest of Australia has fallen behind on legal reforms for trans and gender diverse people.
“In New South Wales, Western Australia, Victoria and Queensland, trans and gender diverse people have to undergo costly, invasive and sometimes unwanted surgical and other medical procedures before we can update our legal documents,” Hosie said.
Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman said that the government will “not rule out repealing the amendments either in part or in full.”