21 December 2022 – National and West Australian LGBTIQA+ groups have welcomed a commitment by the WA Government to removing barriers currently faced by trans and gender diverse people who wish to update their birth certificate to accurately reflect their gender.
“Following years of community advocacy and activism, we’re pleased to finally see a commitment from the West Australian Government to these important reforms for trans and gender diverse people,” said secretary of TransFolk of WA, Milo Bronleigh (he/him).
Attorney General John Quigley on Wednesday announced the government would introduce legislation to replace the Gender Reassignment Board with a streamlined process for updating gender directly through the Registry for Births, Deaths and Marriages (as is the process in every other state and territory).
“Given the alarming delays at the Gender Reassignment Board currently, we welcome the removal of this archaic and unnecessarily intrusive process, which is out of step with every other state and territory,” added Mr Bronleigh.
Under the reforms, trans and gender diverse people would also no longer have to undertake any medical interventions before updating their legal gender.
“Changes to the gender recognition process in WA have been a long time coming, and will make such a difference to the lives of trans and gender diverse people,” said Misty Farquhar (they/them) spokesperson for LGBTIQA+ group Rainbow Futures WA.
“We welcome these proposed changes, which will bring us closer into line with the rest of the country, but we urge the government to work with us to ensure the proposed model is based on best practice and community needs,” said Mx Farquhar.
Each of the organisations have urged the WA Government to consult with the community before legislation is introduced next year.
The reforms must ensure:
1. There is no requirement for clinical proof of gender (as is the case in Victoria and Tasmania, and proposed in Queensland).
2. There are pathways for young people to amend their gender, including where they do not have the support of both parents (as is the case in SA, ACT, Victoria, Tasmania and proposed in Queensland).
3. There is recognition for people who are gender diverse, such as non-binary people (as is the case in every state and territory except for WA and proposed in Queensland).
“What most people in Australia 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,” she said Ymania Brown, a fa’afafine trans woman and spokesperson for national LGBTIQ+ group Equality Australia.
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 support services or opening a bank account.
“Everyone deserves the respect and dignity of being recognised as themselves and trans and gender diverse people simply want their birth certificates to reflect who they truly are,” added Ms Brown.
“We look forward to working with the WA Government to ensure no trans and gender diverse people are left behind in these significant and life-changing reforms, which are a wonderful way to round off the year,” concluded Ms Brown.
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