Fairer Birth Certificates for Trans and Intersex Victorians

Parliament House VictoriaTrans, gender diverse and intersex Victorians wanting to alter the sex recorded on their birth certificate will no longer need to undergo gender affirmation surgery under reforms from the Victorian Government.

The Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2019, to be introduced into Parliament today, is part of providing a fairer Victoria for our LGBTIQ community.

“Everyone deserves to live their life as they choose, and that includes having a birth certificate that reflects their true identity,” says Attorney-General Jill Hennessy. “The current surgery requirement sends a painful and false message that there is something wrong with being trans, gender diverse or intersex that needs to be ‘fixed’ – that’s why we’re removing this cruel and unfair barrier.”

The changes 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.

“We know that forcing trans, gender diverse and intersex Victorians to have a birth certificate that doesn’t match their gender identity can be detrimental to their mental health,” said Minister for Equality Martin Foley. “This bill is about giving trans, gender diverse and intersex Victorians a basic right – a birth certificate which reflects who they truly are.”

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.

Image: Parliament of Victoria