Tasmania is set to become the first state to remove the sex of a child from birth certificates, in a major win for transgender people that has been attacked by critics as “abolishing gender”. A vote is expected in Tasmania’s lower house next month, as amendments to a bill ending the need for trans people to divorce before they can change their gender on official documents. While the bill’s central aim has tripartite support, the Liberal government, Christian groups and feminists fear it has been “hijacked” by the transgender lobby via a series of Labor and Greens amendments.
The Hodgman government relies on the casting vote of Liberal Speaker Sue Hickey, who was elected to the position with Greens and Labor support and votes as an independent. Labor and the Greens both plan amendments to remove gender from birth certificates, while also backing changes to remove the need for trans people to have sex change surgery before switching gender on official documents. Ms Hickey said as a matter of policy she did not declare her voting intentions until debate concluded. She said she was broadly supportive of measures to end discrimination against trans people. “I’ll be listening to every word possible,’’ Ms Hickey said.
“I do think the world is changing and we need to be open to considering things that might discriminate or harm somebody. I’m very open.” Transgender activist Martine Delaney said removing gender from birth certificates would be a significant win that would harm no one. “It would be the first in this country, although not the first in the world, and an excellent statement by Tasmania to say, ‘We have the need to do this and we will not wait for other states to lead’,” Ms Delaney said. “It is not doing away with gender. That information would still be recorded by the registrar and medical records in the hospital. It just simply wouldn’t be displayed on the birth certificate.”
She said removing sex from birth certificates would negate the need for transgender people to “out themselves” every time they applied for work or sought to prove their identity. The Australian Christian Lobby said the reforms essentially abolished gender, further “homogenised humanity” and “greatly diminished” the significance of birth certificates. ACL state director Mark Brown said the changes threatened to destroy the sanctity of women’s “safe places”, from refuges to sports teams. “If you are legally a transgender woman, even if you have a penis you can go wherever you want in terms of women’s safe spaces,” he said.
This concern is shared by feminist group Women Speak Tasmania. “If you have birth certificates issued with no sex marker on them, how then are female only services and spaces, like girls’ schools, or the girl guides, women’s domestic violence shelters, able to maintain the female only integrity of their service?” spokeswoman Bronwyn Williams said. “It puts female-only organisations and services at risk of breaching anti-discrimination law if they say ‘No, you can’t become a member’.” Greens leader Cassy O’Connor, whose child, born as a girl called Mara Lees, is now a 20-year-old man, Jasper, said the changes would end discrimination and make a real difference to lives.
“The flow-on effects of being able to have your birth certificate either gender neutral or changed to your correct gender are profoundly life-changing,” Ms O’Connor said. “At the moment in Tasmania, if Jasper wants to have his birth certificate changed, he will need to have a hysterectomy, and that is cruel and unnecessary.”
Source: Compiled by APN from media reportsPrint This Post