Victorian transgender, gender diverse or intersex people will be able to change the sex on their birth certificates without having to divorce or undergo sex reassignment surgery, under new legislation introduced to the state’s parliament on Thursday.
Attorney-General Martin Pakula said that under the changes in the introduced Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2016, adults will be able to apply to change the sex recorded on their Victorian birth registration and birth certificate to male, female or specify a gender diverse or non-binary descriptor.
Under the new changes, couples who get an opposite-sex marriage before one partner transitions won’t have to get divorced if the partner seeks to change their birth certificate.
This will put an end to the “forced trans divorces” that occur under current laws in which people must divorce their partner before changing their gender identity, because staying married would create an “illegal” same-sex marriage.
“Nobody should be forced to undergo major surgery or choose between maintaining a legal relationship with their spouse just to get a birth certificate that reflects who they are,” Mr Pakula said.
“This is about removing legal barriers and making life a lot more convenient and comfortable,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said.
“Everybody has the right to be who they are… and there’s no reason that shouldn’t be reflected on someone’s birth certificate.”
Parents will also be able to change the sex descriptor on their child’s birth certificate, with the child’s consent and a supporting statement from a doctor or psychologist supporting the change and confirming the child’s capacity to consent.
“Transgender young people are extremely vulnerable and these reforms will help support their transition in school and other settings,” Transgender Victoria chairperson Brenda Appleton said.
“The proposed birth certificate reforms acknowledge and respect a child’s gender identity while ensuring appropriate safeguards are in place.”