Transgender Victoria's Chair Brenda Appleton
Transgender Victoria’s Chair Brenda Appleton

National LGBTIQ+ advocacy organisation Equality Australia has today joined with Transgender Victoria in welcoming the Victorian Government’s introduction of legislation to make it easier for trans and gender diverse Victorians to obtain legal documentation that matches who they are.

Transgender Victoria’s Chair Brenda Appleton, said the reforms would have enormous benefits for all trans and gender diverse people.

“This is a profoundly important reform for our community, as many of us are currently prevented from changing the most basic form of documentation to reflect our true identity,” said Ms Appleton.

Currently, individuals are required to be over the age of 18 and undergo surgery on their reproductive organs in order to change their birth certificates. The Births, Deaths & Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2019 (Vic) will:

  • allow adults to change their legal sex through an administrative process without the need for medical treatment;
  • enable recognition for people who identify outside the male and female categories; and
  • allow trans and gender diverse children to change their birth certificates with the support of their parents and other prescribed person
“Trans and gender diverse people face problems everyday accessing services and facilities most Australians use without thinking twice, because of our identity documents not matching who we are,”

said Ms Appleton.

Aram Hosie, a transgender man and Director of Engagement with Equality Australia also welcomed the reforms.

“In other States around Australia where similar laws have been introduced the changes have delivered enormous benefits for trans and gender diverse people by allowing people to access official identification that matches who they are. The experience in these States shows that these reforms work,” said Mr Hosie

If these laws pass, Victoria will become the latest state to make the process of amending legal documents easier for trans and gender diverse people, with South Australia, the ACT, the NT and Tasmania having already legislated to reform birth certificates laws.

Mr Hosie noted this is an area of law reform that is evolving quickly.

“Just as we encourage NSW, WA and Queensland to update their birth certificate laws, so too we hope that the Victorian Government will continue to stay across legislative developments in this area and strive to ensure that our laws meet the needs of trans and gender diverse people,” said Mr Hosie.

Community advocates urged parliamentarians to educate themselves about trans and gender people ahead of the debate in Parliament.

“This Bill is fundamentally about the dignity and mental health and wellbeing of all trans and gender diverse Victorian. We urge MPs to consider the research and facts and not play political games with people’s lives,” said Mr Hosie.