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Fairer Birth Certificates For Trans And Gender Diverse Victorians

17 June 2019

Trans and gender diverse Victorians wanting to alter the sex recorded on their birth certificate will no longer need to undergo sex affirmation surgery under new laws passed by the Andrews Labor Government.

The new laws will allow applicants to self-nominate the sex listed in their birth registration as male, female, or any other gender diverse or non-binary descriptor of their own choice.

The Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages will be able to refuse to register a descriptor that is obscene or offensive, or if it is not reasonably established as a sex descriptor.

Children will also be able to apply to alter the sex recorded on their birth certificate, with parental support and a supporting statement from a doctor, registered psychologist or another prescribed person confirming that the decision is in the best interests of the child.

Currently, trans and gender diverse Victorians are forced to ‘out’ themselves whenever a birth certificate is requested, which can cause embarrassment and raise privacy, safety and discrimination concerns.

Overturning the current requirement for an individual to undergo sex affirmation surgery before changing their birth certificate recognises that some trans and gender diverse people are unable to, or choose not to, undergo a serious, expensive and invasive medical procedure.

The new laws have been informed by broad consultation with trans, gender diverse and intersex individuals and organisations, doctors and psychologists, Victoria Police, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and previous public consultations undertaken by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

We understand the rhetoric being used by opponents of this Bill may have been distressing to many trans and gender diverse people and their families, which is why we’re also investing an additional $200,000 to Switchboard Victoria to deal with the surge in demand for their services and provide additional de-briefing for their staff.

The bill was first introduced into the Parliament in 2016 but the Liberals voted against these important reforms, putting ideology ahead of what’s right for Victorians.

Quotes attributable to Attorney-General Jill Hennessy

“These important new laws are about ensuring everyone can live their life as they choose, and that includes having a birth certificate that reflects their true identity.”

“The current surgery requirement sends a painful and false message that there is something wrong with being trans or gender diverse that needs to be ‘fixed’ – that’s why we’re removing this cruel and unfair barrier.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Equality Martin Foley

“These reforms are a significant step towards equality for all LGBTIQ Victorians and we will not waver until we have achieved just that. Because in Victoria, equality is not negotiable.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos

“We’re standing with our trans and gender diverse Victorians, who we know have done it tough during this debate. That’s why we’re providing additional resources so they can get the support they need.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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