The Victorian transgender community has welcomed the Australian Human Rights Commission’s paper on legal recognition of sex and gender diverse Australians in government records.
The Commission handed down the long-awaited Sex Files report last week. It details 15 recommendations for the federal and state governments to work together to create a fairer and less complicated identification system that recognises sex and gender diversity.
TransGender Victoria spokeswoman Sally Goldner said the report deals with one of the top issues facing the transgender community.
-œIf implemented it would get away from two little rigid boxes that don’t suit everyone and would recognise the fact that you can’t force someone into a box on a birth certificate that doesn’t necessarily suit them, she said.
-œIt’s a huge breakthrough for us legally and socially.
The report calls for the removal of rules which force people to dissolve their marriage if they want to change their sex on what’s known as a -œcardinal document such as a birth certificate.
Currently transgender people cannot change the sex on their birth certificates if they are married, cannot provide sufficient medical proof or have not undergone change surgery, or are under 18 years.
In Victoria, people seeking to change the sex on their birth certificate must make an application to the state Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages and satisfy a set of strict criteria.
The Commission’s report recom-mends surgery no longer be the only criterion for a change in legal sex, the needs of children and young people who wish to amend their documents be considered and a person’s past sex identity should not continue to be revealed in government or official documents.
The report also calls for the inclusion of an unspecified sex identity category so people can mark their sex as -œmale, female or unspecified.
Sex Files stems from consultations for the 2007 Same-Sex: Same Entitlements report in which transgender documentation issues were raised.
Human Rights Commissioner Graeme Innes told Southern Star although the changes will only affect a small minority of the community the commission will be pushing the federal Government hard to implement change.
-œThe way people are viewed and the way documents don’t let them operate in their lived-in gender goes to the core of a person’s being.
-œThis is a small group of people, but for those people it is a major and continuing problem they face and that is why it is critical we get some change in this area.

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