The South Australian upper house has passed a suite of bills that will be an enormous advance towards equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) South Australians. The bills proposed a range of reforms including recognizing the relationships and families of same-sex couples and improved access to birth certificates for transgender and intersex people.
The Births, Deaths and Marriages (Gender Identity) Amendment Bill 2016 will allow trans and gender diverse people to access birth certificates in their true gender without the need for invasive or unnecessary surgery.
Anna Brown, Director of Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre said, “These changes will deliver enormous benefits for trans, gender diverse and intersex people by allowing people to access official identification that matches who they are.”
Ethan, is a 17 years old transgender teen who is hoping to take advantage of the changes in South Australia to have his birth certificate recognise him as male.
“I realised when I was about 3 or 4 and even though I didn’t know what trans was I just couldn’t relate to being a girl. I can’t wait to have my birth certificate reflect my true gender. I won’t have to be scared or worried about my high school certificate saying that I’m a girl, or people finding out when I apply for a job,” said Ethan.
Ethan’s mum, Sarah Pinkie, has been supporting her son since they talked about his gender identity a couple of years ago.
“Ethan is such a great kid and it’s been really hard watching him go through such a difficult time and not be able to make everything better for him. As his mum, I’m just really grateful he’ll be able to get his birth certificate changed. Not only will it be incredibly validating for him and boost his confidence but it will be really important at a practical level and remove one more source of discrimination in his life,” said Ms Pinkie.
Ms Pinkie has been helping Ethan seek treatment and counselling and more recently has been briefing members of parliament about the importance of the gender identity legislation.
“Even the new process won’t be easy for people under 18 and I hope that one day politicians will realise trans kids are even more vulnerable and need to be supported and have access to high quality medical care, not confronted with scary court processes and judges that don’t understand the issues they face,” added Ms Pinkie.
Note: Photo from the Self-Definition Project.