Laws changed to allow WA’s transgender people to change birth certificate without divorcing

Jaime Page (right) outside Parliament House with Associate Professor Sam Winter from Curtin University.
Jaime Page (right) outside Parliament House with Associate Professor Sam Winter from Curtin University.

TRANSGENDER people across Western Australia will no longer be forced to divorce their spouse in order to update their birth certificate after the WA Parliament removed outdated laws.

The changes come following a report by the Law Reform Commission of WA recommending a series of improvements to LGBTQI+ rights, including protections against discrimination based on gender identity and intersex status and removing sex classification from birth certificates.

Perth rock guitarist and transgender woman Jaime Page said it has been a long journey for advocates who have been campaigning on this issue since marriage equality was legislated in 2017.

“On the wonderful day that same-sex marriage become law, I watched with pride as the public gallery celebrated,” she said.

“To me it was one of the most touching scenes ever witnessed in Parliament, as divisions disintegrated and love was all around, barring a few isolated sad faces.

“But there was one other slightly sad face – me. After everything we did to get there, I was feeling left out, I was not equal, and neither were many of my sisters and brothers.

“We had a new challenge on our hands.

“We celebrated for the lesbian, gay and bisexual community and hoped for an early resolution to this anomaly.”

Equality Australia director of legal advocacy Lee Carnie said the reform is a significant step in removing discriminatory laws, but there’s more to be done.

“It’s fantastic to see the WA Government taking steps to remove this discrimination against married trans and gender diverse people,” she said.

“No one should be forced to choose between being legally recognised for who they are, or staying married to the person they love.

“We urge the WA Government to carefully consider the Law Reform Commission’s report and introduce laws removing the remaining discrimination against trans and gender diverse people on birth certificates.

“For most people, updating your birth certificate is really simple. But for trans or gender diverse people, correcting the gender on your birth certificate can be almost impossible.

“No one should be forced to live a lie or face daily problems when applying for a job, going to Centrelink or enrolling to study because of these outdated laws.”