Politics

Trans People In Victoria Can Now Change The Gender On Their Birth Certificates Without Surgery

Here's how it works.

transgender birth certificates victoria

Transgender people in Victoria will finally have the freedom to change the gender on their birth certificates without being required to undergo surgery, after a long-awaited birth certificate reform bill passed Parliament last night.

The bill, which removes the current requirement for a person to undergo sex reassignment surgery in order to update their birth certificate, passed Victoria’s upper house 26-14. Victoria joins Tasmania, the Northern Territory, South Australia, and the ACT in making the change — and there are calls for NSW to be next.

In practice, here’s how the bill works: trans and gender diverse adults will be able to change the gender recorded on their birth certificates by filling out a form, and providing a letter of support from an adult who has known them for at least a year.

Transgender kids and teenagers will also be able to apply to have the gender marker on their birth certificates changed, but they’ll need to also provide a statutory declaration from a parent or guardian declaring their consent, and a letter of support from a doctor or psychologist affirming that the change is in the child’s best interests.

The bill also allows Victorians to request that their birth certificate record a gender other than “male” or “female”. Basically, the bill allows people to choose a term they self-identify with, though terms may be rejected if they’re offensive or “cannot practicably be established by repute or usage”. You can find a helpful fact sheet on how the bill works here.

As attorney general Jill Hennessy, who introduced the bill, put it: “these overdue reforms will ensure that trans and gender diverse people can have a birth certificate which reflects their true identity. A small thing to many, but it means a world of difference to someone else.”

“The inability for trans and gender diverse people to have an accurate birth registration, which truly reflects their identity, means that high barriers continue to be thrown up against them in their daily lives,” Hennessy told Parliament. “As a result, organisations and institutions may query the person’s sex by asking inappropriate and intrusive questions, for example when providing a service or amending documentation such as bank accounts, insurance details, credit cards, and university records.”

Going forward, trans, intersex and gender diverse Victorians are going to find it much easier to surpass those barriers. The bill will become law once it receives royal assent.


Feature image via Matthew Wade on Twitter