The Queensland government is under pressure to follow Victoria and the ACT’s lead on new laws removing legal barriers for transgender and intersex people who want to affirm their sex on their birth certificates.
Earlier this month, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced legislation that will allow Victorian transgender or intersex people to be able to change the sex on their birth certificates without having to divorce or undergo sex reassignment surgery, as the state’s law currently requires.
Under Queensland law, couples who get an opposite-sex marriage before one partner transitions are forced to divorce before the transgender partner can change their birth certificate. Transgender people must also have sex reassignment surgery before they’re granted the change.
Dr Janet Berry from the Queensland Action Group For LGBTIQ+ Students said it “must be a priority” for Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath (pictured) and the state government to remove both of the requirements from the Births Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 2003, for the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ Queenslanders.
“Mental health consequences arise from failure to recognise people’s identities. One of the main priorities this government has set itself is to ‘encourage safer and inclusive communities’, and changing this legislation would certainly be part of achieving that objective,” she said.
“People should be able to apply to alter the sex recorded on their birth certificate without being required to undergo surgical, medical or hormonal treatments.
“Couples should not be forced to divorce if one partner wishes to apply to change the sex recorded on their birth registration. This can cause distress to their partners, families and children.
“The number of transgender children who are socially transitioning is increasing every year and their core documents need to reflect their true gender to avoid discrimination.”
The former Newman Government commenced a review of the legislation in 2013, and at the time the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland identified in a submission the changes needed to the legislation.
A spokesperson for Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said the state government is “currently working on a number of issues the LGBTIQ community has identified among its priorities for social justice reform,” including expunging historical convictions for homosexual convictions, the abolishing of the “gay panic” Homosexual Advance Defence and standardising the age of consent for sexual activity.
“The Government will continue to look at further reforms, including those being introduced in other jurisdictions,” the spokesperson said.