A new nationwide campaign “My ID, My Identity” is calling on states and territories to support trans and gender diverse people to be recognised as who they are. Currently in some states, people can only change the gender on their birth certificate if they are unmarried, if they’ve had invasive surgery on their reproductive organs and are over 18. And the gender options of female and male also might not describe their gender identity.
“My ID, My Identity” is calling on all Australian states and territories to remove the unnecessary and discriminatory barriers that currently prevent trans and gender diverse people from updating their ID. Without updating these laws, trans Australians and their partners will continue to be pushed through a process of forced divorce, stopping Australia from achieving full marriage equality.
“For most people, updating their birth certificate is simple. But for trans or gender diverse people, updating a birth certificate so it correctly reflects their gender, can be almost impossible,” said Anna Brown, Director of Legal Advocacy with the Human Rights Law Centre.
“Being forced to use ID that doesn’t match your identity can create daily problems when applying for a job, going to Centrelink or enrolling to study.”
“Since the passage of marriage equality last year we’ve been working closely with transgender communities and state governments to update discriminatory birth certificate laws so trans and gender diverse people can live with dignity,” said Ms Brown.
Prior to the marriage equality legislation of 2017, trans people were required to be unmarried before they were able to legally change their ID. This pressured many couples into forced divorce so a trans partner could be recognised as their true gender.
All states are now required to update their birth certificate laws by 9 December so that trans people no longer need to be unmarried. While SA and ACT laws were already compliant, the changes to federal law mean states also have an opportunity to update other out-dated birth certificate laws.
“Governments across the country should be updating their birth certificate laws to reflect the values of fairness and equality that Australians stood up for in the postal survey last year,” said Ms Brenda Appleton, Chair of Transgender Victoria.
“In many states and territories people are still required to undergo invasive surgery before they can change their legal sex. For some people surgery is impossible or simply unwanted. Much more reform is needed to bring birth certificate laws across Australia in line with best practice worldwide," added Ms Appleton.
Kate Toyer, a trans woman, who has been married to her wife for over 21 years was able to change her gender marker after welcome reform in NSW.
“I am a trans woman. I am a woman practically, socially, and legally in everything except one important document. My birth certificate still assigned me as male. To change this, I would have to get divorced from the woman with whom I have three beautiful children. I would have to get divorced from the woman I love more than anything else in this world. This reform meant the world to me and my family and it should be brought in Australia wide,” said Ms Toyer.
“My ID, My Identity” was launched by the Human Rights Law Centre, in partnership with transgender and gender diverse organisations and allies, with support from the Equality Campaign.
For interviews please call:
Michelle Bennett, Director of Communications, Human Rights Law Centre, 0419 100 519