A new group has been launched in Tasmania to call for “overdue” law reform in the state to provide equality and dignity for transgender, intersex and gender diverse Tasmanians.
The group’s formation comes as the Tasmanian government plans to remove a legal requirement that transgender partners must divorce before their gender can be officially recognised.
The group says the reform should go further to remove all discrimination, and spokesperson Martine Delaney said she believes Tasmanians are ready for reform.
“Tasmania’s strong ‘yes’ vote in last year’s marriage equality survey makes us optimistic that we have the support of our fellow Tasmanians in our campaign for full equality,” she said.
“Our campaign will focus on lobbying politicians across all parties, gathering support from community organisations and encouraging individual Tasmanians to voice their support through petitions and webforms.
“Most of all we will encourage transgender and gender diverse Tasmanians to tell their personal stories so other Tasmanians can walk in our shoes.”
Dede River said at the group’s launch in Hobart last Friday that the reforms the group is seeking are long overdue, and are “linked by the basic principles of equality, dignity and personal autonomy.”
“Many nations including the UK and New Zealand have dropped the requirement for surgery, and 19 nations, including Ireland, Canada, Malta, Argentina, and Pakistan already require no medical intervention at all. Another four are in the process of removing requirements,” Ms River said.
“Even at a federal level in Australia the surgery requirement has been removed for those seeking to have their true gender identity recognised on their passport.
“We want to see Tasmania take the lead in bringing the other states up to the standards that already prevail overseas.”
Ms River said the group is calling for a removal of the divorce requirement and also an end to the requirement that trans people must have surgery before their gender identity can be officially recognised, and allowing self-identification instead.
The group are also calling for an end to surgical intervention on intersex children unless it is approved by a body such as the Guardianship Board or is medically necessary to save a child’s life; and for authorities to stop collecting information on sex and gender on official documents where it isn’t necessary and where it is necessary allowing an option other than male and female.
Roen Meijers said law reform will help reduce the prejudice, abuse and discrimination transgender, intersex and gender diverse people face on a daily basis.
“A range of studies, including one by Beyondblue, has found that the majority of young transgender and gender diverse people have experienced discrimination and abuse,” Meijers said.
“Discriminatory laws provide a refuge for this kind of prejudice and abuse and must be removed if we are to be a more inclusive society for everyone.”