Victoria Moves To Allow Gender Change On Birth Certificates

Reflecting gender reality.

18/08/2016 12:03 PM AEST | Updated 18/08/2016 1:45 PM AEST
Victoria is earning its reputation as the Rainbow State.

CANBERRA -- Victoria is firmly presenting itself as the 'Rainbow State' Thursday with the state Labor government introducing legislation to make it easy to alter the gender status on birth certificates.

The Bill fulfills a 2014 election promise to end 'forced trans divorce' and gender reassignment surgery requirements for those wanting to amend the sex on their birth certificates.

Not all trans-people go through with surgery for a variety of reasons, including cost.

The Attorney General Martin Pakula will introduce the Bill into parliament Thursday to "ensure equality for all Victorians".

"This is about removing barriers for trans, gender diverse and intersex people," he told Huffington Post Australia.

'A birth certificate is more than just a piece of paper."

"Nobody should be forced to undergo major surgery or get a divorce just to have a birth certificate that reflects who they are."

Transgender Victoria has welcomed the move which comes after similar laws were enacted in the ACT in 2014 and legislation was introduced in the South Australian parliament on Aug 4.

"The trans and gender diverse community just want to get this done because it is overdue," Transgender Victoria's Executive Director Sally Goldner told HuffPost AU.

Eddie Jim, Fairfax
Sally Goldner, the head of Transgender Victoria, says the move to change birth certificate gender is overdue

"It just reflects the reality of trans and gender diverse lives most of all."

Under the changes, a Victorian could alter the sex descriptor in their birth certificate/registration as male, female or specify a gender diverse or non-binary descriptor.

People wanting to change their birth certificates won't need a supporting statement from a doctor.

"Anyone over the age of 18 will need to make a statutory declaration and obtain a supporting statement from an adult who has known them for at least 12 months to make an application," Pakula said.

Parents or guardians could alter a child's birth certificate/registration with the consent of the minor but will need a supporting statement from a doctor or registered psychologist.

Children over the age of 16 will be assumed to have capacity to consent.

Not being able to change birth certificates to reflect true gender identity has been distressing and confusing for individuals.

Sally Goldner expects the change, if enacted, will bring practical benefits for people of all ages.

"We have had reports for example of young people who want to get a school holiday job but for some reason they are asked for a birth certificate and then they just don't get the job or don't get an interview because they have effectively outed themselves."

"(And) people getting their 100 points for a bank account. This will help with documentation line up. Make it easier for them and, to be fair, for bank staff. So it is a win-win there."

Chris Hopkins, Fairfax
Premier Daniel Andrews addresses the crowd at the Equal Love Rally.

The bill still has to pass parliament.

"This is a big ticket item. Obviously it has got to get through parliament and we respect that process but we would see that there are benefits really for everyone," Goldner told HuffPost AU.

"Naturally we and other trans and gender diverse people will be happy to talk to politicians once things get underway and just work through any questions that people have."

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