A new campaign calling for transgender law reform across the country has been launched by the Human Rights Law Centre and Australian Marriage Equality.
With the #MyIDMyIdentity campaign, the groups are calling on several state and territory governments to remove “unnecessary barriers” that prevent trans and gender diverse people from obtaining accurate identity documents.
HRLC Director of Legal Advocacy Anna Brown said that for most Australians, “updating their birth certificate is really simple.”
“But for trans or gender diverse people, updating your birth certificate so it correctly reflects your gender, can be almost impossible,” she said.
“A birth certificate is the first document a person has – it says who you are, and where you belong.
“Being forced to use ID that doesn’t match your identity creates daily problems when applying for a job, going to Centrelink or enrolling to study.
“We can make it easier for people who have to update their ID so that it accurately reflects their identity.”
Under laws that remain in the Northern Territory, Tasmania and Western Australia, couples who enter an opposite-sex marriage before one partner transitions are forced to divorce before the trans partner can update the gender marker on their birth certificate.
Three states, including Queensland, amended laws to scrap the “unmarried” requirement after the passage of marriage equality last year.
Trans and gender diverse advocates are campaigning for the removal of other outdated barriers to accessing accurate birth certificates, including the requirement for trans people to undergo surgery.
Tasmanian trans advocate Martine Delaney is campaigning in her home state to scrap the “archaic” unmarried requirement for birth certificates.
“But this is just one of the unnecessary hurdles to fair and equal treatment for transgender and gender diverse Tasmanians,” Delaney said.
“We are talking to the Government about also removing the requirement that transgender people must have surgery before their gender is officially recognised on their birth certificate.
“Some transgender people can’t have surgery for medical or financial reasons, and it is unfair to leave them in legal limbo.
“The government should stop meddling in the lives of transgender and gender diverse people, and allow us the same opportunities in life as everyone else.”
(Photo courtesy of Human Rights Law Centre)