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TRANSGENDER LAW REFORM TO ALLOW VICTORIANS TO CHANGE BIRTH CERTIFICATE GENDER WITHOUT SURGERY

The Victorian Government has reintroduced a bill to Parliament which would make it easier for people to change the gender recorded on their birth certificate to male, female or any other gender descriptor of their choice.  Children would be able to change their gender if their choice was supported by their parents and a medical professional.  The bill was introduced by Labor in 2016 but was blocked by the Coalition.  It is likely to pass this time with support from non-government crossbenchers in the Upper House.  The reform is aimed at improving existing laws, where Victorians can only change their birth certificate after they have undergone gender reassignment surgery.

Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia have all already removed the requirement for surgery to occur before a birth certificate gender is changed.  The bill was first introduced in 2016 when it was opposed by the Coalition and failed to pass.  Premier Daniel Andrews said he was hopeful the legislation would have the support it needed the second time around.  “In this state, equality is not negotiable and we are well-known, and I think well-viewed, for the fact that we treat every Victorian equally with respect and dignity and that who you are is enough, you’re valued for exactly who you are,” he said.

Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien said he would like to see the details of the bill in its current form before making a decision on whether or not to support it.  “We don’t know if it’s going to be exactly the same bill, or different, so we’ll see the detail and we’ll make a reasoned decision,” he said.  “I suppose society is grappling with that question of, is a birth certificate supposed to reflect how you were born, or does it reflect how you identify at a point in time?”  Even if the Coalition opposes the bill, it should still pass the Upper House, after the Greens and Animal Justice Party confirmed they would support it.  The Reason Party’s Fiona Patten is also likely to support it.

Under the proposal, Victorians could choose their own gender description, but the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages would be able to reject any descriptions that are obscene or offensive.  The bill would also allow children to alter the sex recorded on their birth certificate, provided they had support from their parents and a statement of support from a doctor, registered psychologist or other “prescribed person”.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports