One brave young Queenslander, 18 year old Lorelei Tuxworth is doing everything within her power, to force Queensland to update the laws surrounding birth certificates and gender recognition.

Currently in Australia, only New South Wales and Queensland require transgender individuals undergo gender confirmation surgery in order to be able to reflect their true gender on their birth certificates.

Recently, Tuxworth applied to Queensland Births, Deaths, Marriages And Divorces to update her birth certificate while in the process of also changing her name. However, upon receiving her new birth certificate learned that her application to change gender was denied as the new document still had the same gender as before.

“I only got my name changed over, and we found out that to get the gender changed over, you have to have [gender affirmation] surgery,” Tuxworth said.

So now, the 18-year-old has started a petition calling on Annastacia Palaszczuk’s Labor government to get with the times and follow the lead of other states such as Victoria. Back in May 2020 Victoria made it possible to change the recorded sex on their birth certificates without having to undergo a sex affirmation surgery.

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 Support for the petition and for Tuxworth’s cause has been strong. In the weeks since the petition started close to 18,000 people have pledged their support by signing the petition.

Transgender people should not be required to undergo this invasive surgery, and the Queensland government should, as many governments before it have, ditch this unnecessary and inhumane requirement and allow transgender people to have their gender legally recognised without the need for surgery,” the petition reads.

In an interview with the ABC Tuxworth said that gender affirmation surgery was “a topic of discomfort” for many transgender people. “For a lot of trans people, there are reasons either medical or financial, that make it difficult for us to get the surgery.”

Tuxworth went on to say that many transgender people did not feel the surgery was necessary, “because it puts forward an idea that sex and gender are the same thing. Which they’re not.”

Not only this, the costs of such surgeries are estimated to be around $30,000. A cost which places further barriers to those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, who may not be able to afford such expenses, as explained by the Federal Government’s HealthDirect website which states that “these costs include the surgeon’s and anaesthetist’s fees, specialist visits, hospital costs, counselling and hormone therapy.”

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 But the issues go further, with many pointing out that the requirements are at odds with the states Anti-Discrimination And Human Rights Acts. Heather Corkhill, The Queensland Human Rights Commission’s Senior Policy Officer and LGBTI Liaison Officer confirming the organisation has for some time been supportive of the laws being changed.

“We feel that it’s quite a key human rights issue and a real significance for the LGBTIQ+ community, particularly now with Queensland being out of step with most other jurisdictions. Also, it’s inconsistent with the Anti-Discrimination And Human Rights Acts in Queensland.”

Annastacia Palaszczuk is yet to respond to the growing pressure for Queensland to amend these outdated laws, but many are hopeful that action will come sooner rather than later.

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