Equality Australia – LGBTIQA+ advocates welcome end of ‘Gender Reassignment Board’, urge WA Government to go further


This article was originally published by Equality Australia. You can find the original article here.

17 April 2024 – WA and national LGBTIQA+ groups have today welcomed the introduction of a Bill abolishing the WA Gender Reassignment Board, but say that the long-awaited gender recognition reforms should go further to recognise all trans and gender diverse people. 

The WA Births, Deaths and Marriages Reform Amendment (Sex or Gender Changes) Bill 2024 will be introduced into WA Parliament today, removing the requirement for trans people to undertake gender affirming medical treatment and seek approval from the Board prior to updating their gender on ID documents, such as birth certificates. 

“The Gender Reassignment Board process was a humiliating and inhumane process. Abolishing the Board will be welcomed by many trans and gender diverse people who can finally be recognised as who they are while avoiding this cruel system,” said Dylan Green, Vice Chairperson, TransFolk of WA. 

The overhaul of WA’s gender recognition laws will also recognise non-binary people for the first time.  

“Abolishing the Gender Reassignment Board and recognising non-binary people for the first time will make things easier for many trans and gender diverse people, so we welcome this announcement. However, some will remain disadvantaged because the reforms announced today don’t go far enough,” said Misty Farquhar, spokesperson for Rainbow Futures WA. 

To have their gender recognised, the reforms still require trans and gender diverse people to submit evidence from their doctor or psychologist of having received appropriate clinical treatment, and young people aged under 18 years will require the consent of both parents or a court order in most cases.  

“We encourage consultation with the community to ensure that these reforms meet the needs of all people, including for those who do not need, want or can’t afford medical treatment or psychological support,” added Mx Farquhar. 

Along with NSW, WA is one of the last places in Australia which requires medical treatment before a person can have their gender recognised on their birth certificate. Victoria, Queensland, the ACT and Tasmania have also done away requirements for clinical verification, preferring instead a non-medical model with Victoria and Queensland requiring an adult who has known the person for 12 months to verify the application.  

“These reforms are welcome and overdue, but there is more work to do to strengthen them and to meet the Government’s commitments on protecting us from discrimination and harm, and recognising our families,” said Anna Brown, CEO of national LGBTIQ+ organisation Equality Australia.  

“Gender recognition ensures that trans and gender diverse people have the ID they need to get a job, open a bank account or enrol to study without facing harassment or risking violence, which is why these life-changing benefits are so welcome but should be accessible to all trans and gender diverse people in WA”, added Ms Brown. 

Meaghan Holden, Co-Vice Chair of Living Proud said: “We welcome this long-awaited step towards equal recognition and respect for LGBTIQA+ people in WA, and urge the WA government to work closely with the community as it delivers its reform commitments – addressing discrimination for LGBTIQA+ families, students, teachers, and conversion survivors.” 

David Gibson, the Chair of GLBTI Rights In Ageing (GRAI) said: “It is a relic of unnecessary and invasive bureaucracy that has historically impeded the journey of transgender individuals. Its removal signifies a significant milestone towards a more respectful and inclusive approach to gender diversity in Western Australia.”

Dr Morgan Carpenter Executive Director Intersex Human Rights Australia said: “Intersex-led organisations want the WA government to legislate to end harmful practices on children with innate variations of sex characteristics in medical settings. We don’t want special birth registration categories.” 

Paul Hadfield from Gay Dads WA said: “Gay Dads WA look forward to seeing the completion of the proposed Surrogacy reforms to allow better access to/through surrogacy, provide access to surrogacy to all genders in WA, and have birth certificates corrected to list both parents which will allow legislative protections for those children born through surrogacy.” 

The WA Government has announced that reforms to surrogacy are imminent. 

Interviews can be arranged with people who delayed updating ID documents due to the Gender Reassignment Board.  

Contact: Emily Mulligan, [email protected], 0411 207 633 

Mike Hitch, [email protected], 0426 812 115 

This article was originally published by Equality Australia. You can find the original article here.

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