Birth Certificate law reform in Victoria
Family & Relationship Law - 30 August 2019
It will soon be much easier for transgender and gender-diverse individuals to change their birth certificates, thanks to new laws passed this week by the Victorian Government.
Previously, Victorian laws required individuals to undergo sex-reassignment surgery before amending their official gender. This requirement existed to ensure consistency with the definition of marriage as being between man and a woman – but this is no longer the case since the legalisation of same-sex marriage in 2017.
Many transgender people forgo the surgery because it's expensive and invasive. The new laws will enable people to define their gender as male, female, or a gender-diverse or binary descriptor of their choice – regardless of whether they've had the surgery.
While children will be allowed to change their gender marker, they will need parental consent (or a Court order) and a supporting statement from a doctor or psychologist confirming that the decision is in the child's best interests.
According 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…"
These law reforms complement another recent reform that allows children to receive gender dysphoria treatment without needing a court order. These are significant and important steps toward achieving equality for transgender and gender-diverse Victorians.
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