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Gender could soon be optional in birth certificates in Queensland

By Taffy Bernales Published Jul 01, 2022 7:11 pm

In Queensland, a proposal to make gender optional on birth certificates and to change sex every 12 months is currently in talks.

According to a report by The Australian, this new change is said to give parents an option not to declare a gender on the official records and to let them decide whether to use “mother” and “father” or not.   

“Consideration is being given to additional options to allow same-sex couples to register as mother/mother or father/father, if they choose to,” the spokesman for the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney-General said in a Daily Mail report.  

This might bring changes to New South Wales and Queensland, which requires citizens to undergo surgical procedures just to change their gender on birth certificates. The spokesperson said that the changes aim for a better gender representation in the state, pushing for an “improved recognition for trans and gender diverse people.” 

According to The Australian, the details of the changes were said to have been discussed in early June with two women’s groups, who gave mixed sentiments on the proposal’s intent to remove sex from the certificate. 

The spokesman confirmed in a report that the terms will not be removed from the document but will only be more open for marginalized groups. 

In this proposal, citizens could be free to change their gender every 12 months and choose any descriptor on the document as long as it is not too long, obscene, and excludes numbers, symbols, or offensive language.

Aside from this, anyone aged 16 or above could self-identify as another gender if they could provide a supporting statement from anybody who has known them for at least 12 months. This is also allowed for those aged between 12 to 16, provided that their decision is supported by one or both parents. Meanwhile, those who are below the age of 12 should have both parents supportive of the change. 

“If this change was adopted, it would align Queensland with other jurisdictions,” the spokesperson said.

In April 2019, Tasmania became the first Australian state to make gender listing legally optional on birth certificates. This was then followed by the Northern Territory, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, and the state of Victoria.

The “Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill” was passed through Victoria’s upper house with a 26–14 vote. Having been the fifth state in Australia to pass the birth certificate reforms, Victoria was said to be “long overdue” in its changes, according to Victorian Minister for Equality Martin Foley.

However, he told reporters that the changes will ascertain that the “gender-diverse and trans-Victorians have the same rights as everyone else for their foundation identity document to reflect who they are.”