The Victorian Government will today introduce a bill to parliament allowing trans and gender diverse people to more easily change the sex recorded on their birth certificate.
The Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2019 removes the pre-existing requirement for trans adults to have undergone gender affirmation surgery before being able to change the sex on their birth certificate.
It also allows young trans people to apply to alter the sex recorded on their birth certificate with parental support and a supporting statement from a doctor or registered psychologist.
The reforms will allow applicants to self-nominate the sex listed in their birth registration as male, female, or any other gender diverse or non-binary descriptor.
Current legislation forces trans Victorians to ‘out’ themselves whenever a birth certificate is requested, raising privacy, safety, and discrimination concerns.
Minister for Equality, Martin Foley, said the reforms would recognise that some trans and gender diverse people are unable – or choose not – to undergo gender affirmation surgery.
“We know that forcing trans, gender diverse, and intersex Victorians to have a birth certificate that doesn’t match their gender identity can be detrimental to their mental health,” he said.
“This bill is about giving trans, gender diverse, and intersex Victorians a basic right – a birth certificate which reflects who they truly are.”
In 2016, a similar bill was introduced by the state government, and passed the lower house after a lengthy and transphobic debate.
However, it was ultimately voted down in the upper house after facing opposition by the Coalition and other crossbenchers.
Equality Australia and Transgender Victoria have welcomed the state government’s reintroduction of birth certificate reforms to parliament.
Transgender Victoria’s Chair, Brenda Appleton, said the reforms would have enormous benefit for all trans and gender diverse people.
“This is a profoundly important reform for our community, as many of us are currently prevented from changing the most basic form of documentation to reflect our true identity,” she said.
“Trans and gender diverse people face problems everyday accessing services and facilities most Australians use without thinking twice, because of our identity documents not matching who we are.”
Trans man and Director of Engagement with Equality Australia, Aram Hosie, said the bill was fundamentally about the dignity and mental health of trans and gender diverse Victorians.
He urged parliamentarians to educate themselves about trans and gender diverse people ahead of the debate in parliament.
“In other states around Australia where similar laws have been introduced, the changes have delivered enormous benefits for trans and gender diverse people by allowing people to access official identification that matches who they are,” he said.
“We urge MPs to consider the research and facts and not play political games with people’s lives.”
If the reforms pass, Victoria will become the latest state to make the process of amending legal documents easier for trans and gender diverse people, with South Australia, the ACT, the NT and Tasmania having already reformed their birth certificate laws.