Peter Hyndal Executive Director of AGA,
Peter Hyndal Executive Director of AGA,

Birth certificate changes welcomed by A Gender Agenda

A Gender Agenda welcomes changes in the recording of sex on ACT Birth Certificates to be tabled in the Legislative Assembly this Thursday by Mr Simon Corbell MLA, ACT Attorney General.

“We strongly welcome the proposed changes to the Births Deaths and Marriages Registration Act, which will eliminate the requirement for individuals to have reassignment surgery prior to changing the sex on their birth certificate,” said Peter Hyndal, spokesperson for A Gender Agenda.

“The changes also provide a clear mechanism for intersex people to change the sex recorded on their birth certificate, and bring the legal definition of ‘intersex’ for the purposes of ACT law in line with the definition used in the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act”.

“Previously, many gender diverse people have been forced to use birth certificates which show their sex as different from the way they identify and present. Intersex people have also not had a clear legislative pathway to amend errors made in recording their sex at birth. This predicament has raised very real safety and privacy issues for transgender and intersex people when going about their daily lives. We are aware of specific cases where individuals have experienced discrimination, verbal abuse and been denied services because the sex on their birth certificate did not match their presentation and identity” commented Mr Hyndal.

A Gender Agenda congratulates the ACT Government on addressing the serious human rights issues arising from the existing Change of Sex provisions. These issues were highlighted by the Australian Human Rights Commission “Sex Files” report in 2009 and also raised with the Attorney by the ACT Human Rights Commissioner in 2010. In particular, A Gender Agenda congratulates the ACT Government on their highly professional and respectful consultation with transgender and intersex organisations in the lead up to these changes.

Mr Hyndal calls on other jurisdictions to introduce similar legislation: “The changes announced today are the most significant reforms affecting transgender and intersex Australians that we have ever seen in this country. They bring ACT Birth Certificates into line with the Commonwealth Passport Policy and are part of a growing international trend towards appropriate legal recognition of intersex and gender diverse people. A Gender Agenda urges all other State and Territory Governments across Australia to follow the ACT Government’s lead and introduce similar legislation as a matter of urgency.”