Tasmanian LGBTIQ advocates have welcomed the state government’s commitment to removing the requirement that transgender people be unmarried before their gender can be officially recognised on their birth certificates, but they say the reform should go further.
The state’s Attorney-General Elise Archer on Thursday confirmed the Government will move to scrap the “forced divorce” law affecting trans people in response to a question from the Greens.
Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson Martine Delaney said the requirement is “archaic”.
“We welcome the Government’s commitment… 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.”
Ms Archer told ABC News she could not make any decisions “overnight” and the amendment to remove the surgical requirement for gender recognition would need to go out for public consultation.
“I am sorry that these things can be delayed, but it is the process that has to occur in relation to changing the law, and ultimately it has to go to Parliament,” she said.
Last year’s marriage equality legislation placed an obligation on the states to remove the forced divorce provision by early December this year.
In recent months, Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales have removed the requirement. South Australia and the ACT scrapped their respective laws before the legalisation of same-sex marriage last year.
Several years ago, Tasmania became the first Australian state where legislation removing the forced divorce requirement was introduced, Delaney said.
The forced divorce requirement applies to married partners who go through a gender transition and effectively became same-sex partners.
Because Australian law did not recognise same-sex marriages until last year, married trans partners were forbidden from having their gender identity officially recognised by state governments.