WA trans men head to High Court

WA trans men head to High Court

The High Court of Australia has granted two WA transgender men the opportunity to argue why the court should take their case.

The men — who cannot be named for legal reasons — were granted special leave by the High Court on Friday, April 8 to argue for a hearing.

If it is accepted, the case may be the first transgender-related case in history to be heard by the High Court.

AH said he was relieved and pleased with the decision and it would be the first time anyone in Australia had tested the laws around actually being recognised.

“I’m encouraged that the judge seemed to really understand what’s at the heart of the argument, what the issues are,” he said.

“It is the first time that a case like this has gone to the High Court. We’re looking forward to having the argument.”

As AH explained, the High Court cannot automatically appeal a state court decision. The pair must ask for special leave to appeal to the court since gender recognition certification is a state issue.

“By granting a move to appeal, the court is recognising that, even though it is a state issue and state legislation, it has significant implications more than just at a state level.

“Normally a state matter wouldn’t be dealt with at a federal court.

“It’s a really important step because if we hadn’t been granted leave that would have been it, all over.”

The saga began in 2008 when the WA Gender Reassignment Board denied the pair gender recognition. Following an appeal, the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) overturned the decision and granted both men their certificates.

Last September, the Supreme Court of Western Australia denied the two men their gender recognition certificates after the state Attorney-General appealed a decision by the SAT.

AH said the decision didn’t guarantee that the pair would or would not win — it meant that the court believed it was worth looking at.

While no date has been set, AH did not expect a hearing before the second half of this year.

– Benn Dorrington, Out In Perth

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