New legislation to improve the legal recognition of sex and gender diverse people in the ACT will be introduced in the Legislative Assembly today, says Simon Corbell.
The biggest and most important change is that individuals no longer have to undergo surgery to legally change their sex on their birth certificate.
I’ve met people who have saved for years in order to afford sexual reassignment surgery, and that whole time they’ve had to endure having their legal documentation listing them as the wrong sex.
So this is a good thing and it’s nice to see Canberra leading the way here.
The legal recognition of sex and gender diverse people in the ACT community will be improved by legislation introduced in the Legislative Assembly today, said Attorney-General, Simon Corbell.
“In today’s society the physical characteristics that identify a person as a particular sex are external characteristics that are socially recognisable. There is no need for exact knowledge of a person’s sexual organs, and no justification for requiring unwanted surgery,” said Mr Corbell.
“Although the Births Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2013 affects a relatively small number of people in our community, these changes will have a large and positive impact on this section of the community. Until now, these community members have been unfairly disadvantaged by outmoded restrictions on sex and gender recognition,” he said.
In an Australian first, the Bill removes the legislative requirement that a person wanting to change their record of sex on a birth certificate has to undergo sexual reassignment surgery. This is replaced with a requirement that they have received ‘appropriate clinical treatment’.
“This amendment aligns the ACT’s legislation with the Australian Government’s Guidelines on the recognition of sex and gender, and Australian Passport Office policy, so that there is consistency for sex and gender diverse people in the ACT Community.
“The Bill contains amendments to help sex and gender diverse people to exercise fundamental human rights, including the right to privacy and reputation, recognition and equality before the law, and the protection of family and children,” Mr Corbell said.
Other amendments made by the Bill include the declaration that interstate recognition certificates are, for the purposes of Territory law, evidence that the person has the sex stated in the certificate; amending the definition of ‘intersex’ to better reflect the federal definition; and extending the time parents have to register the sex of a child after birth from 60 days to six months.