Today the NT Parliament passed new laws that are a significant step forward for equality for LGBTI Territorians.
It’s been almost a year since the Federal Government passed marriage equality. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case for all Australians due to an outdated and unnecessary law that meant transgender people couldn’t change the gender on their birth certificate without being forced to divorce the person they love.
"Your birth certificate is the first document you’re given, you should be able to change it to reflect who you are. But up until now, married Territorians would need to get divorced if they wanted identification documents that matched who they are," said Lee Carnie, Senior Lawyer for the Human Rights Law Centre.
"It’s great to see states and territories finally catching up and delivering marriage equality for all."
The laws include amendments put forward by Human Rights Law Centre during the Committee review process. The bill will remove the requirement for surgical sterilisation in order to change the gender on a birth certificate, and allow parents of minors to apply for the change.
"Being Territory born and bred is a source of pride for many. The birth certificate is a key source of truth for this. By updating these laws we are recognising another truth, that Territorians who are intersex or transgender exist and have always been part of the fabric of the Territory," said Stephen Kerry, a member of the LGBTI community group Rainbow Territory.
"The Territory is known as a live and let live place. Updating these laws shows the Territory is big enough to be inclusive of all Territorians, regardless of the sex and gender of a person," they said.
Rosalina Curtis, a Central Islander Sistergirl from Alice Springs, is thrilled that she’ll be able to change her legal gender to female on her Northern Territory birth certificate.
"I feel very excited about the bill being passed. Now I am able to be recognised as my preferred gender on my birth certificate. I’m very happy for these new changes," said Ms Curtis.
"It would mean a lot to me to change my birth certificate, because I wouldn’t have to justify myself being transgender. I can now apply to be legally recognised as female. This will help me with gaining employment and to be recognised for who I truly am," she said.
With the NT passing these laws, Tasmania and Western Australia are the only state governments left to remove the ‘forced divorce’ requirement. Both governments are currently debating birth certificate laws in parliament.
For interviews call:
Michelle Bennett, Director of Communications, Human Rights Law Centre, 0419 100 519