Birth certificate reform passes through Victorian Parliament

The Victorian Legislative Council last night passed an amendment to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1996 (Vic), making it possible for transgender and gender diverse people to change the legal gender on their birth certificates.

After lengthy debate the amendment went through Victoria’s upper house last night, with 26 votes in favour and 14 against.

The new laws will require applicants to make a statutory declaration, and submit a statement from an adult who has known the applicant for at least 12 months and give assurance the move is being made in good faith.

LGBTIQ+ advocates, trans folk and gender diverse Australians have welcomed the news. Brenda Appleton, Transgender Victoria spokesperson said that the power of the speeches and the outcome “has been amazing and helps heal the damage from the debate 3 years ago.”

“Trans rights are human rights and we welcome the passing of this bill. It is important that we can all having documents which reflect who we are and enable us to get on with our lives with pride rather than hiding in the closet” said Appleton.

Another spokesperson for Transgender Victoria, Sally Goldner*, said that the change is a massive marker-post moment for trans and gender diverse Victorians and their families.

Sage Akouri of LGBTIQ+ advocacy group Equality Australia added that their “human right to identity documents that reflect who I am should never have been debated in Parliament.”

“Changing my sex on my birth certificate gives me a sense of safety that I’ve never had before” said Akouri.

“A birth certificate is the first identity document a person has – it says who you are, and where you belong. Being forced to use ID that doesn’t match your identity creates daily problems when applying for a job, going to Centrelink or enrolling to study”, said Anna Brown*, Chief Executive of Equality Australia.

“This victory was led by trans and gender diverse Victorians, despite the awful fearmongering from some quarters. Equality Australia supporters contacted their MPs to encourage them to pass the Bill, to share their personal stories, and to stand as allies.”

“This small reform means a lot to the people it will affect, and it will do nothing to anyone else”, Brown said.

OIP Staff