Advocates for transgender, intersex, and gender diverse law reform in Tasmania have invited Prime Minister Scott Morrison to meet after sweeping reforms passed in the state’s lower house.
Just a day after Transgender Day of Remembrance, Morrison took to Twitter this morning to condemn the reforms, which include making gender markers optional on birth certificates, as “ridiculous”.
“I applaud the Tasmanian lower house for providing greater equity, dignity, and hope for transgender, gender diverse, and intersex Tasmanians,” said Transforming Tasmania spokesperson Roen Meijers.
“A year ago Tasmanians voted emphatically for the principle of equality and it’s wonderful to see that principle finally being put into practice for transgender, gender diverse, and intersex Tasmanians.
“It’s particularly important that this reform has passed on Transgender Day of Remembrance, the day where we remember those transgender people who lives were lost to prejudice, hate, and violence.
“We will now turn our attention to the upper house which we will brief on Thursday. Our simple message to upper house members is that it’s time for equality for all Tasmanians, regardless of our gender identity.”
The sweeping reforms include the removal of forced divorce requirements for trans people wishing to amend birth certificates.
But the landmark bill will also make for some of the most progressive and inclusive legislation for trans, gender diverse and intersex people in Australia.
Trans people will no longer be forced to have surgery in order to amend birth certificates, and hate speech against transgender, gender diverse and intersex Tasmanians will be prohibited.
While parents will be able to opt not to display a gender marker on birth certificates, medical records will continue to record a child’s sex at birth.
Labor’s plan to remove gender from birth certificates in Tasmania is ridiculous. Bill Shorten should step up and commit to put motion to ALP Federal Conference to outlaw it.
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) November 20, 2018
Transforming Tasmania extended their invitation to Morrison, with Meijers saying the Prime Minister should “meet the people personally affected by this important reform because personal stories can change the hearts and minds, including the Prime Minister’s.”
“Transgender, gender diverse and intersex people have compelling stories to tell of stigma and discrimination, and as Prime Minister, Mr Morrison has a responsibility to hear these stories so he is fully informed,” Meijers said.
“We are happy to meet Mr Morrison anywhere anytime, and all we ask in return is that he comes to the meeting with an open mind.”
Morrison has previously expressed disdain for birth certificate reforms, recently calling the proposal “nonsense” after he learned that the issue would be debated at Labor’s next national conference.
The Australian Christian Lobby’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown declared freedom of speech “all but dead” in response to the bill’s passage.
Brown claimed that there had been no community consultation over the amendments, but advocates have repeatedly said that the reforms were put before a statewide inquiry in 2016 and has since been thoroughly debated by the public.
“In 2016 there was a statewide inquiry into these issues by the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission which showed widespread support for reform,” Transforming Tasmania’s Martine Delaney said.
“Since then Transforming Tasmania has encouraged public debate on the reforms we want, and has met regularly with the State Government to discuss these reforms and put forward our suggested amendments.”
The legislation will now go before the upper house, which is populated largely be independents, before it becomes law.