Transgender activists want reform

Transgender activists are pushing for revised laws around gender identification in WA following landmark reforms made in Tasmania this week.

The passing of the Marriage Amendments Bill makes displaying gender on Tasmanian birth certificates optional, removes the need for a transgender person to undergo sexual reassignment surgery to have their gender recognised, and allows people over 16 to change their registered gender without parental permission.

Members of the transgender community across Australia have applauded the long-awaited reform, and hope the changes will soon be seen across the nation.

Sessional academic and transgender activist Mx Misty Farquhar expressed concern over the current processes in WA that transgender people have to go through to have their gender legally recognised.

“In Western Australia, it’s quite a horrible process at the moment … people have to knowingly get medical support, they also have to stand in front of a gender recognition board – which is a panel of medical experts – and prove their gender to that board before they can have legal recognition,” they said.

“If you have to go and prove your gender to a group of medical professionals, I just don’t think anyone would be comfortable doing that.”

Despite a review conducted last year by the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia recommending that gender be removed from birth certificates in WA, the laws remain unchanged.

EqualLove Perth co-convener Jacqueline Blackburn praised the changes being made to Tasmanian legislation.

“I think it’s a fantastic change, it’s obviously a really excellent win for quite a marginalised group of people in Australian society,” she said.

However, Miss Blackburn echoed worries about Western Australia’s current approach to gender identification changes.

“I know lots of other trans, intersex and gender non-conforming people in Perth and pretty much every transgender person you talk to would say that there are major reforms that need to happen and should be addressed,” she said.

“There’s no real reason it should have to be super difficult, so the changes are a really positive step in the right direction.”

While the WA state government has not expressed a desire for these changes to be made, potential for gender policy reform remains.

Watch Jacqueline Blackburn give her perspective below.

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