Trans Victorians cheer as state’s birth certificate reforms begin

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Photo: Equality Australia/Twitter

Transgender and gender diverse Victorians are applauding the state’s new birth certificate laws, which come into effect today (May 1).

The new laws passed last August. They allow trans people to update the sex marker on their birth certificate without undergoing invasive and expensive surgeries, among other changes.

Transgender Victoria executive director Margot Fink said it’s an “important step forward toward equality” for trans Victorians.

“It’s fantastic to see the daily lives of trans and gender diverse Victorians and our loved ones meaningfully improved by this reform,” Fink said.

“In particular this represents huge relief for non-binary and gender diverse people, as well as trans youth.

“The previous restrictions often meant members of our community were placed at risk of outed or being endangered by documents that didn’t reflect their true gender.

“This reform improves the safety, autonomy, and equality of trans and gender diverse people in Victoria.”

Longtime Victorian transgender advocate Sally Goldner said she would be “racing to get online” to apply.

Goldner said the new laws provide “a primary document reflecting the truth regarding my gender identity. It will prevent outing and anxiety.”

Webinar to explain new changes to Victoria’s transgender community

Transgender Victoria has advised COVID-19 and social distancing measures may mean temporary delays in processing time of applications.

However, transgender and gender diverse Victorians can still apply from today (May 1) as originally intended.

On May 18, the LGBTIQ Legal Service are holding a Change your ID Day webinar. The session will help trans and gender diverse Victorians understand the new laws.

And with support from VicBears, Transgender Victoria also set up a fund for trans people who need assistance paying application fees.

For more information and fact sheets explaining the law changes, visit the Transgender Victoria website.

Victorian Attorney-General Jill Hennessy said last August the new laws “ensure everyone can live life as they choose.”

“That includes having a birth certificate that reflects their true identity,” she said.

“The current surgery requirement sends a painful and false message that there’s something wrong with being trans or gender diverse that needs to be ‘fixed’. That’s why we’re removing this cruel and unfair barrier.”

Victoria is the fifth state or territory to pass such legislation. Sadly, Queensland and New South Wales are lagging behind.

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