Victoria, AU – For the second time, the Labor Party under leader Daniel Michael Andrews is fighting to pass a bill that will enable individuals to choose the sex that is reflected on their birth certificates as male, female or a personalized option, without the necessity of undergoing gender-affirming surgery.
Jill Hennessy, a Member of Parliament serving as Attorney General and Minister for Workplace Safety, slammed existing laws that require an individual to obtain gender-affirming surgery before applying to alter the sex on the birth certificate as a “cruel and unfair barrier” that “sends a painful and false message that there is something wrong with being trans, gender diverse or intersex that needs to be ‘fixed’.”
The bill will also grant children who receive parental approval and a statement from a doctor, psychologist or other authorized party the right to alter the sex on their birth certificates.
“This bill is about giving trans and gender diverse Victorians a basic right – a birth certificate which reflects who they truly are,” Minister for Equality Martin Foley claimed, arguing that a birth certificate that does not reflect a trans or gender diverse person’s internal sense of gender can lead to mental health problems.
Sally Goldner, who serves as Treasurer and Acting Executive Director of Transgender Victoria, insisted that current legislation creates a double-bind that compels trans and gender diverse people to either undergo surgeries they don’t want, or hold onto a birth certificate that could “out” their biological sex.
Critics argue that the law, if passed, would compromise women’s safety and privacy by enabling men who are legally recognized as women to access such facilities as locker rooms, restrooms and domestic violence shelters that are designated for women.
John Whitehall, a professor of pediatrics in New South Wales, slammed the law as a “propaganda victory” that is “ratifying the concept” that sex is fluid rather than binary.
Gordon Rich-Phillips, a senior Member of Parliament for the Liberal Party in the South Eastern Metropolitan Region, called the bill an attempt to shift birth certificates from a matter of factual record to a social construction. “We believe that allowing people to change the sex recorded on their birth certificate on a 12-month basis simply through self-selection … is inappropriate and does not accord with the expectations or values of the Victorian community,” he argued in parliament.
A similar bill was proposed by Labor under Victorian Premier Andrews in 2016, but narrowly failed, with the opposition denouncing Labor’s bill as “driven by ideology” and going “too far.”
The current bill is expected to pass the Upper House, with the Greens and Animal Justice Party confirming their support of the proposed legislation.
The parliament of Tasmania, an island off the Australian coast, recently passed a similar bill to allow those within the territory to self-determine the sex that appears on their birth certificates. The Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia also have such laws in place.
“Who you are is enough; you’re valued for exactly who you are,” Victorian Premier Andrews claimed in a statement about the bill that allows people to select or customize their sex on an official document.
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Gender groups back birth certificate bid in Victoria
Victorians will no longer need surgery to change gender on their birth certificate, under a proposed new law described by supporters as a step forward for transgender rights.
Transgender law reform to allow Victorians to change birth certificate gender without surgery
ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
The Victorian Government has reintroduced a bill to Parliament which would make it easier for people to change the gender recorded on their birth certificate to male, female or any other gender descriptor of their choice.
Labor hopes to scrap ‘cruel’ law, make birth certificates non-binding
Scrapping a “cruel and unfair” law will mean trans and intersex people in Victoria will no longer need gender reassignment surgery before they can change the sex recorded on their birth certificate.