Court dispute highlights need for law reform to support WA’s trans youth

Warning: This article contains mentions of suicide, dead names.

A local transgender teenager has been laid to rest with two separate funerals, following a court dispute between his parents.

The West Australian has reported on the case of the two parents, in which the father does not accept his son’s trans identity, arguing against the use of the boy’s chosen name on his headstone.

“He (the father) wanted all the ashes (interred together) and (his son’s) dead name on the plaque,” the boy’s mother told The West.

“I would agree to have (the dead name) in brackets but his (chosen name) first.”

It was decided that the parents would share their son’s ashes, and use both their son’s chosen name and his deadname on any memorial plaques.

Community calls for improved transgender protections and support

This story follows a recent surge in calls from LGBTIQA+ community advocates for the McGowan Government to address protections for the community.

Processes for recognising changes to legal gender have come under particular scrutiny as causing undue harm and distress to trans and gender diverse individuals.

In Western Australia, a trans or gender diverse young person is not able to affirm their chosen name without the consent of both parents, or the issue will be referred to the Family Court.

WA Labor voted to pass a proposal to establish guidelines for the Family Court in situations where both parents do not consent at their 2017 state conference, though no action has been taken.

Writing to The West on Wednesday, LGBTQIA+ advocate and just.equal spokesperson Brian Greig says WA has fallen behind other states on legal recognition of trans people and supporting trans youth.

“The death of another transgender child highlights not only the tragic rate of suicide among trans and gender diverse people, but also the failure of the West Australian Parliament to support and protect trans folk,” Greig wrote.

“In WA, people who are transgender cannot alter the gender on their birth certificate unless they undertake medical intervention and are issued with a Certificate of Gender Recognition by the Gender Reassignment Board.”

“This archaic requirement and its regulatory board do not exist elsewhere. It also means that trans folk who cannot or choose not to undertake medical intervention are not protected from discrimination by the Equal Opportunity Act.”

“Making things worse, until 2020 WA’s Inclusive Education program provided support and resources to State schools to assist LGBTI students, which had included support for 58 trans kids.”

“The McGowan Government has not renewed it. By contrast, in other States inclusive education programs are fully funded, trans folk are covered by anti-discrimination laws and can alter their gender on identity documents without medical intervention.”

“Now is the time for Mark McGowan to address transgender law reform.”

Leigh Andrew Hill

TransFolk of WA have been contacted for comment.


Do you need some support?

If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, support and counselling are available from:

QLife: 1800 184 527 / qlife.org.au (Webchat 3pm – midnight)
QLife are a counselling and referral service for LGBTQIA+ people.

DISCHARGED: 9364 6909 / waamh.org.au / [email protected]
Discharged is a trans-led support service with peer support groups for trans and gender diverse folks.

Lifeline: 13 11 14 / lifeline.org.au

Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636 / www.beyondblue.org.au


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