19 August 2019

Over 1000 Australian feminists, including 78 Victorian academics, have signed an open letter in support of birth certificate reform in Victoria. A bill to amend the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1996 (Vic) passed the Victorian Legislative Assembly on Thursday, and will now go to the Legislative Council.

 “Our open letter is a direct response to the misinformation and fearmongering spread by the Victorian Women’s Guild”, said Dr Hannah McCann*, a Lecturer in Cultural Studies with expertise in gender and feminist theory, at the University of Melbourne.

“The level of support shown by signing this open letter, from Professors right through to students, is a testament to feminists who stand behind this reform. It is needed and important, and is in line with feminist values such as bodily autonomy that we have fought for decades to maintain”, concluded Dr McCann.

“No jurisdiction with similar reforms to birth certificates has seen any evidence of the fears suggested by the Victorian Women’s Guild”, said Dr Bianca Fileborn*, criminologist and expert on sexual violence and harassment, also from the University of Melbourne.

“Trans women face levels of violence, especially intimate violence and public harassment, at rates similar to or higher than most other groups of women. There is no rationale for excluding them on the basis of safety – it is their safety that is under threat.

“Comments like those made by the Victorian Women’s Guild, actively put trans women in danger because they empower fear and embolden violence”, concluded Dr Fileborn.

“Open Letters and statements of support for this reform are coming from all corners of Victoria. We are proud to be part of a diverse community, who would rather celebrate each other than embolden hate”, said Anna Brown*, chief executive of Equality Australia.

View the Open Letter here: equalityaustralia.org.au/my-id-my-identity/open-letter-feminists-support-fair-birth-certificates/
Signatories available upon request.

*uses she/her pronouns

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