The Northern Territory parliament has passed laws allowing transgender people to affirm their gender on their birth certificates while staying married to the partners and without undergoing gender reassignment surgery.
The so-called “forced divorce” law, a leftover from when same-sex marriages were illegal, required trans people in the NT to be unmarried before their birth certificate could be amended.
Under the laws passed on Thursday night, transgender and gender diverse Territorians would also be able to update the gender on their birth certificates to male, female, and other non-binary and intersex identities without undergoing surgery, and parents can apply for the change on behalf of their children.
“Being Territory born and bred is a source of pride for many. The birth certificate is a key source of truth for this,” Rainbow Territory member Stephen Kerry said.
“By updating these laws we are recognising another truth, that Territorians who are intersex or transgender exist and have always been part of the fabric of the Territory.
“The Territory is known as a live and let live place. Updating these laws shows the Territory is big enough to be inclusive of all Territorians, regardless of the sex and gender of a person.”
Rosalina Curtis (pictured), a Central Arrernte Sistergirl from Alice Springs, said she was thrilled with the changes that will allow her to change her legal gender to female on her Northern Territory birth certificate.
“It would mean a lot to me to change my birth certificate, because I wouldn’t have to justify myself being transgender,” Ms Curtis said.
“I can now apply to be legally recognised as female. This will help me with gaining employment and to be recognised for who I truly am.”
Tasmania and Western Australia are now the only state governments retaining the ‘forced divorce’ requirement in their state laws, with debate on birth certificate laws currently underway in both parliaments.
Earlier this month, the Northern Territory’s gay conviction expungement scheme came into effect, allowing men convicted of historical gay sex offences before 1984 to have their records wiped.