Non-binary option for Western Australian birth certificates

Western Australian birth certificates are about to become easier to change
Perth, Western Australia

Western Australians will soon have an easier time correcting the sex on their birth certificates – and non-binary will be recognised as an option alongside male and female.

This follows the McGowan government’s 2022 decision to overhaul Western Australia’s birth certificate amendment process and abolish the state’s Gender Recognition Board.

In comments to The West Australian (paywall), a spokesperson for the Cook government has confirmed that allowing non-binary sex markers on birth certificates will be part of these reforms.

Currently, Western Australians seeking to update the sex on their birth certificates must prove they have undertaken surgical or medical intervention, supply a letter from a psychiatrist or psychologist, include letters from all medical practitioners involved in their transition, and provide two or three letters of support from friends and family, along with certified copies of identity documents. The Gender Recognition Board then meets to discuss whether a recognition certificate should be issued. If a recognition certificate is issued, an application can then be made to the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages to change the birth certificate.

The process does not currently allow people to change the sex on their birth certificate to anything other than male or female.

Attorney General John Quigley stated ‘These reforms will bring Western Australia in line with the processes available for birth certificates throughout most of Australia – and are consistent with the process available for Australian passports.’

This change will apply to both children and adults seeking to update their birth certificates – though it is uncertain whether there will be an age limit.

The changes to Western Australian birth certificates come soon after Queensland and Victoria’s modernisation of their birth certificate legislation, and following their 2019 reform removing the requirement for trans people to divorce their spouses in order to legally change their gender.

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