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Better recognition and protection of trans and gender diverse people and families secured in Queensland

June 15, 2023

Yesterday, the Births Deaths and Marriages Registration Bill 2022 passed in Queensland Parliament. The LGBTI Legal Service is proud to have played a part in advocating for and contributing to these reforms that mean that trans and gender diverse people and families can be recognised and protected in Queensland. We commend the Queensland Government for their work with the LGBTIQA+ community to draft these reforms and for passing this important legislation for our community.

What are the changes?

There are several changes that ensure that trans and gender diverse people can be recognised and protected in Queensland:

  • Trans and gender diverse people will no longer be required to undergo gender affirming surgery to update their gender on their birth certificate and driver licence.
  • There is now an option for people to record their sex as something other than male or female, meaning nonbinary and gender diverse people can have their gender recognised on their birth certificates and driver licences.
  • The parent that births a child is no longer required to be recorded as the child’s mother.
  • People are protected from discrimination on the basis of their internal experience of gender and gender expression, regardless of their sex assigned at birth.
  • ‘Sex characteristics’ is now a protected attribute under ani-discrimination laws, meaning intersex people are better protected from discrimination.
  • It will no longer be lawful to discriminate against a person in the context of working with children on the basis of their gender identity or lawful sexual activity.

For more information about the changes, visit Equality Australia’s Factsheet on the changes.

What does this mean for the trans and gender diverse community?

Human Rights Lawyers and LGBTI Legal Service Patron, Matilda Alexander, heard the news prior to presenting to the United Nations in New York:

“Over the past ten years I have responded to multiple discussion papers, commented on draft laws, attended consultations, taken cases to court, made submissions, appeared in parliament and met with politicians all for this moment! I’m so proud of every member of our LGBTIQ+ community today and especially the trans and non-binary folks who had to endure so much discrimination and violence to get to this point.”

These changes also mean that our client Coonan no longer has to be referred to as the mother of his children on official documentation. Coonan told the Guardian “I live as a man, I’m legally male, my kids call me Dad and finally their birth certificates will reflect that. I can provide their birth certificates to day care and schools without having to explain my gender history and request that they also call me Dad.”

Equality Australia has also demonstrated how broad the impact of these changes are, sharing the views of community groups and personal stories to celebrate these changes.

What’s next?

Although this is a huge step for the trans and gender diverse community, we can’t benefit from these changes yet. The laws will not take effect until the government sets a ‘commencement date’. We don’t have an indication of when the changes will take effect, so watch this space!

While we celebrate this win, we know there is more to be done to protect the LGBTIQA+ community. We are committed to advocating for law reform in Queensland, including reforms to protect intersex people from unnecessary and invasive surgery, following the example set by the ACT Government.

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