Australia to introduce new 'transgender law'
In a world that is continuing to campaign and slowly progress for gender and LGBT+ equality, Australia has taken the latest step in providing trans people with compassion and impartiality, as the state of Victoria is seemingly on the verge of changing the law so that transgender people can change their birth certificate without undergoing sex-change surgery.
Jill Hennessy, Victoria's Attorney-General, introduced the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill back in June, in a conscious attempt to ensure that the state's laws are "compatible with human rights", the Daily Mail has reported.
The proposed bill will be debated in the Victorian Parliament later this week - four months after Tasmania's upper house voted to make gender optional on birth certificates and allow someone to change their gender by signing a statutory declaration.
It is expected that the Labor government bill will pass through the Legislative Council thanks to support from the Green Party and other left-leaning smaller parties, although the Opposition is set to vote against the legislation.
Melbourne 3AW broadcaster Neil Mitchell came under fire after suggesting that the change would be "symbolic". Animal Justice Party upper house MP Andy Meddick quickly shot down Mitchell's comments, saying: "No, it's not symbolic. For people who are transgender, this means everything in the world to them."
Mr Meddick's 20-year-old son, Eden, is transgender, and the MP spoke candidly about how Eden revealed his gender dysphoria at age 14. Meddick stressed to the broadcaster how a person's birth certificate is more than just a piece of paper:
"For them, when they go to get a driver's license, the driver's license doesn't reflect who they are. When they go to get a passport, it doesn't reflect who they are.
"They feel isolated, they feel separated from the rest of the world.
'This is another way, it makes us more inclusive as a society that we recognize that these people are who they are and they're part of us and we love them and we support them."
If the bill is passed in Victoria, that would mean that New South Wales and Queensland would be the only Australian states that still require someone to undergo sex-change surgery in order to change their birth certificate.