Transgender people across Western Australia are celebrating today, following the WA Parliament finally removing outdated laws forcing them to divorce the person they love in order to update their birth certificate.
The changes come following a report by the Law Reform Commission of WA recommending a series of improvements to LGBTQI+ rights, including protections against discrimination based on gender identity and intersex status and removing sex classification from birth certificates. But it has been a long journey for advocates who have been campaigning on this issue since marriage equality was legislated in 2017.
“On the wonderful day that same-sex marriage become law, I watched with pride as the public gallery celebrated,” said Perth rock guitarist and transgender woman Jaime Page.
“To me it was one of the most touching scenes ever witnessed in Parliament, as divisions disintegrated and love was all around, barring a few isolated sad faces.
“But there was one other slightly sad face - me. After everything we did to get there, I was feeling left out, I was not equal, and neither were many of my sisters and brothers.
“We had a new challenge on our hands. We celebrated for the lesbian, gay and bisexual community and hoped for an early resolution to this anomaly,” said Ms Page.
Lee Carnie, Director of Legal Advocacy at Equality Australia, said the reform is a significant step in removing discriminatory laws, but there’s more to be done.
"It’s fantastic to see the Western Australian Government taking steps to remove this discrimination against married trans and gender diverse people,” said Lee Carnie.
“No one should be forced to choose between being legally recognised for who they are, or staying married to the person they love.
“We urge the Western Australian Government to carefully consider the Law Reform Commission’s report and introduce laws removing the remaining discrimination against trans and gender diverse people on birth certificates.
“For most people, updating your birth certificate is really simple. But for trans or gender diverse people, correcting the gender your birth certificate can be almost impossible.”
“No one should be forced to live a lie or face daily problems when applying for a job, going to Centrelink or enrolling to study because of these outdated laws,” said Lee Carnie.
The WA Law Reform Commission’s report can be read here.