Queensland’s Attorney-General has said the state government will introduce legislation to reform birth certificate laws to benefit transgender Queenslanders later this year, after years of lobbying by advocates.
Trans and gender diverse Queenslanders must undergo expensive and invasive gender affirmation surgery before they can update gender markers on birth certificates. Many trans and gender diverse Australians can’t access the surgeries for various financial, medical, faith or personal reasons.
As a result, many must then “out” themselves in various situations requiring their birth certificate. The discrepancy can also lead to misgendering, which negatively affects transgender people’s mental health.
In a petition earlier this year, Queenslander Esther Vale called for the state government to scrap the surgery requirement and make other changes to birth certificate laws.
Vale wrote, “The current legislation is the weakest in the country for recognition of trans and gender diverse people, and should be updated.
“There are several relatively simple changes that will make a vast increase in inclusivity and acceptance of LGBT+ people.
“People should have the right to legally register as they self-identify.
“This means removing the requirement for a person to undergo sex reassignment surgery to change the sex listed on their birth certificate.
“The sex marker should also be changed without ‘annotation’, as there is no reason for these documents to out people.
“To include people of a third or non-binary gender, birth certificates should at least have an additional ‘X’ option.
“Queensland should also provide ‘recognised details certificates’ as other States and Territories do.”
The e-petition to State Parliament closed in March after it received 10,838 signatures.
Queensland Attorney-General says transgender law reforms coming this year
Queensland Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman (pictured) recently formally responded to the petition.
Fentiman said the Queensland government was aiming to introduce legislation to address the issues later in the year.
“The Department of Justice and Attorney-General is currently working hard to bring a Bill before the House this year,” she said.
Fentiman said the legislation will “address many of the issues raised, and other important matters, in the petition,” without giving any details.
Queensland has lagged behind almost every other Australian state and territory on the issue.
Gina Mather, president of the Australian Transgender Support Association Queensland (ATSAQ), said ATSAQ and other community groups have lobbied the state government for more than eight years for the important reforms.
Mather told QNews.com.au the passage of the birth certificate legislation, if comprehensive, would be a “momentous occasion” for Queensland’s trans and gender diverse community.
Earlier this year, Queenslander Lorelei Tuxworth also started a Change.org petition calling for the laws to be reformed.
She said the ability to affirm her gender identity on her birth certificate would give her “a lot more validity”.
“Even though it is just changing one letter, it would certainly mean quite a lot to me,” she said.
For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.