New laws have been passed in Queensland’s Parliament that will allow transgender and gender-diverse people to more easily update legal documents, such as birth certificates.
The legislation is aimed at “more appropriately accommodating” trans and gender-diverse people.
The Queensland transgender laws
Under the new laws, trans and gender-diverse people will no longer be required to undergo gender-affirming surgery before changing their sex on legal documents such as birth certificates and driver’s licenses.
The Queensland Government said requirements for gender-affirming surgery “unnecessarily medicalises the recognition of a person’s lived identity”.
A person who wishes to legally change their sex must supply a supporting statement instead. This would be from someone who has known that person for at least a year and is 18 years old.
The framework will also allow children under 16 to change their sex on legal records.
A parent or guardian will be able to make an application on the child’s behalf, with the consent of the other parental figure and the child.
Applications will need to be supported by a practitioner who has assessed the child.
This would include gauging the child’s understanding of their identity and the impacts of changing it.
Children between 12 and 16 would be able to lodge their own sex alteration court application if they have no parental figure.
Under the new changes, both parents can now be registered as mother, father, or parent on a birth certificate.
Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said this move is to “recognise… the undeniable reality that a child can have more than one mother and more than one father”.
The Liberal-National Party Opposition voted against the legislation.
While speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, members of the Opposition expressed concerns over a short period of consultation. They also said the laws may “give rise to unintended consequences”.
This especially related to measures for trans and gender-diverse children, which were called “pre-emptive”.
The passing of laws in Queensland makes WA and NSW the last two Australian states or territories that still require surgical or medical intervention to change a person’s legal sex.
The WA Government has signalled plans to remove the current requirements.
Gender-affirming surgery also isn’t required for a change of sex on Federal Government records, such
as Medicare details.
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