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Curtis Ward is the new President of Gender Reassignment Board

Curtis Ward has been appointed as the new President of the WA Gender Reassignment Board.

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Ward, who is a prominent member of the LGBTIQA+ communities is an associate at law firm Clairs Keeley and was formerly the President of Pride WA.

He takes up the role following the resignation of Grantham Kitto who had been in the role since 2022. Kitto’s sudden resignation had left the board in a state of hiatus unable to process any of the applications before it. It’s the second time in twelve months that the board’s work has stopped because it did not have a leader.

The board’s relevance has been questioned many times in recent years. Former Liberal Premier Colin Barnett had proposed transferring its operations to the State Administrative Tribunal, and in its annual reports the board itself has repetitively questioned its existence.

A High Court decision in 2011 declared that people who are transgender cannot be forced to undergo surgery in order to gain a gender recognition certificate, and in 2017 at the Labor party’s state conference a motion was passed calling for the board to be abolished. Neither the McGowan nor the subsequent Cook government have followed through on the party’s committment.

A 2022 review of the state’s Equal Opportunity laws recommended significant reforms were needed to bring Western Australia’s laws into line with those of other states. The review also questioned the relevance of the associated legislation that requires people to apply to the Gender Recognition Board to legally change their gender.

Speaking to OUTinPerth Ward said he fully supported the government’s committment to abolish the board.

“As you know the government has announced their intention to replace the Gender Reassignment Board with an administrative process akin to those in place in other states. I give my full support to this decision.

“In the meantime, the Gender Reassignment Board remains the only means by which a person can currently change their legally recognised gender in Western Australia and I want to ensure that avenue remains open to people whilst it is the only option.

“Having worked alongside TransFolk of WA and the broader LGBTQIA+ community, I’m hoping I can make the experience, whilst it remains the only choice, an approachable and hospitable process.” Ward said.

Recently multiple sources have suggested that Attorney General John Quigley plans to push back the Equal Opportunity law reforms until after the 2025 state election. A spokesperson for the Attorney General has previously told OUTinPerth that the development of the legislation is complex and will take time to be developed.

“The State Government is 100 per cent committed to new Equal Opportunity legislation, but it also needed to take into account a review of federal anti-discrimination laws that was now in progress.

“We are continuing to engage with stakeholders in relation to this important reform, as legislation is drafted.” a spokesperson for the WA government told OUTinPerth on 13th October.

On Sunday at the WA Labor party’s state conference a motion was passed calling for action on the reform of the State’s Equal Opportunity laws, urging the Cook government to take action within this term of government.

Curtis Ward was admitted in the Supreme Court of Western Australia in 2013. He has a background in many areas of the law including complex parenting and financial family law matters, criminal law matters, and banking and finance, small business and consumer law disputes.

In 2021, he was appointed as Commissioner of Legal Aid WA by the Attorney General. He served on the Board of Pride WA for more than six years, including as President and Secretary, and is an appointed member of the City of Perth Advisory Committee.

Graeme Watson 


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.

DISCHARGEDinfo@discharged.asn.au / discharged.asn.au
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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