Children Can Now Choose Their Own Gender In Australia

Katherine WaldockKatherine Waldock in News, World
Published 29.08.19

Australia is making major headway in the fight for transgender rights as Victoria becomes the fifth state to allow a gender change on birth certificates.

This law is inclusive to pre-op transgender people, as they are able to change their birth certificate without going under surgery.


This new law in Victoria means that most Australians can now legally change their gender on official documents, which is a huge step for equal rights. As of the 27th of August, the birth certificate bill passed 26-14 in the Victorian Upper House, a majority that shows the positive move toward equality for transgender people.

The change in policy means trans and gender-diverse people will be able to change their birth certificate to reflect the sex they identify with, without undergoing gender reassignment surgery.


The Australian reports that under the changes people can self-nominate the sex listed as male, female, or any other gender diverse or non-binary descriptor of their choice – though the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages will be able to refuse to register a descriptor that is obscene, offensive or ‘not reasonably established as a sex descriptor’.

The bill also includes a section that allows children to change their birth certificate documents, with the permission of their parents. In order to change any official document, under 18’s must also have a statement from a psychologist or doctor.


However, the bill has been met with stiff opposition, with Liberal MP Bernie Finn describing the legislation as an ‘attack on our society’.


He said:

‘There are two genders. Of the two genders, there is the male – there is homosexual inclination and various paedophilic inclinations, there are a whole range of inclinations, and we could go on with that for quite some time. But in terms of gender, there are only two genders: male and female.

I do not want a man who claims to be a woman to get a birth certificate which says that he is a woman. I do not want him to get that birth certificate and use that as a way to molest women, to molest young girls, as some inevitably will.’

Victoria follows the lead of states Tasmania – which was the first state to pass this type of bill back in April – Northern Territory, South Australia, and Australian Capital Territory. These five states now all allow transgender people to legally change their sex without any form of surgery.


The Attorney-General, Jill Hennessy released a statement about the bill on Twitter, saying that the law is ‘overdue’, and commending the bill for allowing people to change their certificate so that it ‘reflects their true identity.’


Before the bill was passed, to be able to officially change your name and sex on a birth certificate or other official document meant that you had to have undergone gender reassignment surgery, but that creates dysmorphia in ‘trans or gender diverse’ people. Hennessy praised Victoria for removing ‘this cruel and unfair barrier.’

Victoria’s law change marks another historic and positive day for transgender rights in Australia and we commend them for it.

Images via Getty