Victorians celebrate as birth certificate amendments come into effect

Victoria’s transgender and gender diverse communities have welcomed amendments to the state’s Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act which come into effect on Friday 1st May 2020.

The reforms, which passed Victorian Parliament in August last year, make it possible for transgender and gender diverse people to change the legal gender on their birth certificates.

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.

Kochava Lilit of peer led trans and gender diverse support group Ygender says these reforms are the result of hard work led by transgender and gender diverse folks, and their allies.

“We organised supporters to contact their MPs, shared our stories, and explained, over and over again, why our rights mattered. We should never have needed to fight so hard for the simple right to have ID that reflects who we really are, but now that these reforms are in affect it’s a moment to celebrate,” Lilit said in a statement.

“Having a birth certificate that lists us as the wrong gender is harmful and makes us less safe. Any time we need to provide ID, to work, to study, to rent, to apply for Centrelink, we have to take that risk. Now we can choose what goes on our ID. Now we have another way to affirm who we really are.”

“Letting people self-describe is important. Having the option to use a term other than female or male means that non-binary people and people who describe their genders in words from languages other than English have equal access to accurate and inclusive birth certificates.”

National LGBTIQ+ advocacy groups also welcomed the reforms when they passed parliament in 2019.

“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, last year.

“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.”

OIP Staff

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