Equality Australia welcomes reports of Queensland birth certificate reform

30 November 2022 – National LGBTIQ+ organisation, Equality Australia, has welcomed reports that the Queensland Government will introduce legislation this week to remove barriers currently faced by transgender Queenslanders who wish to update their birth certificate to reflect their gender.  

The report in today’s Courier Mail says that the legislation will remove the requirement for trans people to have surgery before changing the gender marker on their birth certificate to reflect their gender and allow same-sex parents to be listed on birth certificates. According to the report, the Bill will also allow for the sex of a child under the age of 16 to be changed on their birth certificate, by requiring parents to apply to the registrar or by going through the Children’s Court. 

“It is vital to the health and wellbeing of trans and gender diverse people to have ID documents that reflect their gender”, said Anna Brown, CEO of Equality Australia. 
“But trans and gender diverse Queenslanders currently face cruel and unnecessary barriers to be able to update their birth certificates, forcing them to use documents that don't reflect their identity, and creating problems when applying for a job or enrolling to study. 
“Everyone deserves the respect and dignity of being recognised as themselves. It's fantastic the government is progressing this long-awaited reform following a widely supported community-led campaign.” 

“We look forward to reviewing the Bill once it is introduced, to ensure that it delivers for all trans and gender diverse people a simple and fair process to have their gender recognised.” 

The reported changes would mean Queensland would join other jurisdictions such as Tasmania, South Australia, the ACT, the NT and Victoria in removing the surgery requirement, after the Victorian Parliament most recently legislated to introduce fairer birth certificate laws in June 2019. 

“What most Australians take for granted as a simple piece of paper is for trans and gender diverse people the right to exist and be seen for who we are,” said Ymania Brown, a Brisbane-based, fa’afafine trans woman from Equality Australia. 

“Queensland's current laws are cruel, outdated and out of step with almost every other state and territory in Australia, requiring trans people to undergo major, invasive surgery on their reproductive organs before we are able to have our identity reflected in our ID documents.  

“But not all trans people want to have surgery, and for many of us there are reasons either medical or financial, that make it difficult.” 

Having a birth certificate that does not align with your gender means that trans people may be forced to out themselves when applying for jobs, registering for school or university, accessing Centrelink and other support services, or opening a bank account. 

“It is a distressing experience to be forced to reveal intimate and private details about our bodies and lives, oftentimes in public settings,” Ymania Brown said.

Media Contact: Tara Ravens 0408 898 154, tara.ravens@equalityaustralia.org.au