Recent developments in Transgender Rights

Transgender

In recent weeks there have been 2 Bills introduced into both the Victorian Parliament and South Australian Parliament seeking to enable transgender people the opportunity to legally change the gender on their birth certificates without a Court’s approval.

Currently a transgender person must undergo surgical gender reassignment and/or hormonal treatment (at age 18 years and over) and be “single”– meaning that if you were married and then transitioned to the opposite sex you must obtain a Divorce Order in the first instance (as a result of our current marriage laws which prohibit persons of the same sex marrying each other).  In South Australia a transgender person can apply to the Magistrates Court for an Order to vary a birth certificate but only if these hurdles have been overcome. Not every transgender person chooses to have surgery and/or hormonal treatment or apply via the Court – which forces them to jump through unfair and impracticable hoops adding to the stigma, distress and discrimination many transgender people battle on a daily basis.

The irony is that a transgender person can open a bank account and obtain a passport or drivers licence with reference to their identified gender, without any legal hoop-jumping.

In Victoria, the Andrews Coalition Government voted against the Bill and it is uncertain if the Bill is to be reintroduced.

In South Australia, the Weatherill Labor Government also voted against the Bill.  Notably however several Members of Parliament were absent from the Chamber (including the Premier himself) when the votes were cast. The Premier has indicated that the South Australian Parliament has the numbers to pass the Bill and accordingly it will be reintroduced later this year.

Watch this space.