Tasmania to remove gender on birth certificates
TASMANIA is set to be the first Australian state to completely remove gender from birth certificates in what is being described as a step forward for the state's transgender residents.
The move would mean transgender people would be able go about tasks where they have to prove their identity, such as applying for jobs, without being forced to disclose their transgender status.
The bill is expected to be put to a vote in Tasmania's lower house next month, according to The Australian.
The proposed change comes as part of amendments to a bill that puts an end to transgender people having to divorce before than can get their gender changed on official documents.
Christian and feminist groups associated with the Liberal government have lashed out at the motion, with many critics claiming changes made by the Greens and Labor have "hijacked" the original intention of the bill.
The amendments put forward by the latter parties are both in favour of not having a child's gender displayed on their birth certificate.
Other amendments being pushed by Labor and the Greens call for transgender people to be able to legally change their gender on official documents without having to undergo gender reassignment surgery.
Many countries, including France, Ecuador, Pakistan and many more, already allow transgender people to change their gender marker without the high-risk surgery.
Transgender activist, Martine Delaney, said changes such as these, particularly removing gender markers from birth certificates, will have a significant impact on transgender people.
"It is not doing away with gender. That information would still be recorded by the registrar and medical records in the hospital," she told The Australian.
"It just simply wouldn't be displayed on the birth certificate."
But groups such as Women Speak Tasmania are concerned that the change would mean the rights of transgender people are being promoted above the rights of others.
A spokesperson for the group Bronwyn Williams said there is a need to "protect the integrity of the historical record contained in birth certificates" by keeping gender markers.
"Birth certificates are historical records that serve a number of demographic functions and inform both government policy and legislation on a wide range of areas," Ms Williams said in a statement.
She said laws where "biological males can be declared legally female" are impeding on women's rights.
"This fiction has already eroded the rights of women and girls to female-only spaces and services," she said.
"If male-bodied people are permitted to be legally recognised as female on the basis of self-identification alone, as proposed by groups like Transforming Tasmania, women's sex-based rights will be a thing of the past."
The Australian Christian Lobby agreed with the sentiment that removing gender from birth certificates would impact women's rights, as was as "diminishing the significance" of the official documents.
"Amending a legal document in this way would have many unintended consequences, like jeopardising women only safe-spaces and encouraging potentially dangerous competitive inequalities in sport," ACL's state director Mark Brown said in a statement.
"The sex a child is born with is a scientific and immutable fact. Birth certificates are used to detail such historical truths.
"A person's biological sex is changed or removed it greatly diminishes the significance and usefulness of birth certificates. Such changes, therefore, should be off-limits."