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Updated

October 24, 2018 15:49:08

Removing the sex of a child from birth certificates would eliminate a range of problems that transgender people face, a lobby group says.

Key points:

  • The Greens have proposed amendments, supported by Labor, which would see gender removed from birth certificates except in special circumstances
  • The Tasmanian Government does not support the amendments
  • Activist Martine Delaney says the proposal would remove unnecessary barriers for transgender people

Last week the Tasmanian Government tabled amendments to legislation removing the need for transgender people to divorce their partners if they want their birth certificates changed.

The Tasmanian Greens then spoke in Parliament about proposed amendments to remove a child’s gender from birth certificates. Their proposal is supported by the Labor Party.

The proposed amendments would require gender to be removed from a birth certificate, unless it was ordered by a magistrate or required under the laws of another state or the Commonwealth.

For gender to be included on a birth certificate, a child over 16 would have to make a statutory declaration.

For children under 16, a statutory declaration would be required from one of the child’s parents or legal guardians and the order must express the views of the child.

If there is a disagreement between guardians, a magistrate would be needed to make an order.

Tasmanian Greens leader Cassy O’Connor’s son Jasper Lees began his transition 18 months ago, and earlier this year called for people to be able to change their gender on their birth certificates without having surgery to remove their reproductive organs.

Gender stamp ‘simply causes problems’

Transforming Tasmania spokeswoman Martine Delaney said having a child’s sex on their birth certificate posed problems for transgender people.

“This morning I received a copy of a birth certificate from the mother of a transgender girl, and she’s a teenager applying for casual work,” she said.

“Her birth certificate outs her as being born male and having a former male name.

“It serves no purpose and it simply causes problems.”

Ms Delaney said it was an opportunity for Tasmania to lead the way.

“In Australia nobody else has done it,” she said.

“There are provinces in Canada, and there are about 20 other countries around the world that are currently moving towards this.”

Proposal doesn’t have Government support

Premier Will Hodgman said the State Government did not support the proposal.

“Some of what has been proposed has not been adopted in any other state in Australia,” he said.

In a statement, Attorney-General Elise Archer said Labor and the Greens must consult the public on the proposed amendments.

“No other state or territory in Australia has taken the step proposed of removing gender from birth certificates,” she said.

“For Tasmania to do so, in the absence of any proper consideration of the reform, exposes the state to a range of potentially serious unintended consequences.”

Ms Archer said the Tasmania Law Reform Institute (TLRI) would examine the proposed amendments.

“An investigation by the TLRI will give Tasmanians the opportunity to have their say on how their government manages issues of sex and gender, and the TLRI is best placed to properly consider the impact on our laws,” she said.

Speaker Sue Hickey, whose vote could prove crucial if she were to turn against her Government to vote with the Greens and Labor, declined to comment ahead of debate.

Tasmania’s director of the Australian Christian Lobby, Mark Brown, said the proposed amendments were “radical”.

“I can’t believe we’re actually considering these,” he said.

“All legislation needs to be weighed up in terms of the impact it’s going to have on the wider community and there’s been no public consultation.”

Topics:

government-and-politics,

children,

community-and-society,

gender-roles,

tas,

hobart-7000,

launceston-7250

First posted

October 24, 2018 14:07:58

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