Trans and gender diverse advocates in Victoria have again urged the state government to reform its birth certificate laws, after a bill making it easier for people to change the gender marker on their birth certificate was voted down in 2016.
Current legislation requires trans and gender diverse people to have undergone costly and intensive sex reassignment surgery before being able to apply for a change on their certificate.
In 2016, a bill removing this requirement 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.
At the time, Greens MP Sam Hibbins told the Star Observer that in the event it was voted down, the state government wouldn’t be able to revisit the issue until the next term of parliament.
“This is a key legislative change that trans people are looking for in this term of parliament, and this is our best chance in the foreseeable future,” he said.
Now that Victoria is in a new term of parliament, advocates have renewed their pressure on the government to push for birth certificate reforms, with a Change.org petition cropping up earlier this week calling on Premier Daniel Andrews to act swiftly.
“This legislation would not negatively affect people at all, despite conservative fear-mongering that it will somehow endanger our society,” the petition reads.
“Trans people are not assaulting people in bathrooms or change rooms, and nobody is claiming to be transgender to get into gendered spaces and commit crimes.
“Even ignoring arguments about bathrooms and sports teams, birth certificates are not checked in relation to which change rooms or bathrooms people do or do not use; they are not checked when administering medical care; they are not checked when someone signs up to a sports team.
“It would help all transgender Victorians who want their documentation changed. It helps us prove our identity to official institutions that refuse to change our markers or titles. It would make us safer in public, when traveling to or through countries with more discriminatory policies, and it would in general improve the quality of life and well-being of a group of people with rates of depression, anxiety and self-harm that should horrify any compassionate person.”
The petition calls on the state government to introduce a bill that would remove the requirement surgery in order for someone to change the sex marker on their birth certificate.