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Tasmania Has Made Historic Changes to Laws for Trans Rights

Norrie May-Welby, an Australian transgender advocate

In Australia, the Tasmanian government has passed amendments aimed at supporting the transgender community according to The Mercury. Voted on by Parliament Wednesday, the laws will allow parents to choose whether a child’s gender should appear on their birth certificate and trans citizens will no longer have to divorce their partners to transition. The historic move makes Tasmania the first state in Australia to make gender optional on birth certificates according to ABC News Australia’s political reporter Alexandra Humphries.

“This is a good outcome for parliament and parliamentary process because what we’ve got here is two houses now are in agreement in majority and I am very confident it’s been thoroughly thrashed out,” Liberal Speaker Sue Hickey said. “I see it as a win for the transgender community and for common sense and decency.”

The new laws would overturn old requirements for citizens to undergo reproductive surgery to have their identity documents updated. Now only a “gender declaration” document would need to be filed for those over the age of 18 — those between 16 and 18 would need to file this document with a parent’s signature.

The laws were heavily backed by the Labor and Greens parties. The Liberals were staunchly opposed.

“This is a historic day for transgender and gender diverse people, not only in Tasmania but around the world,” Transforming Tasmania spokeswoman Martine Delaney said of the results. Transforming Tasmania was one of the leading organization campaigning for the change. “This legislation ranks among the most inclusive and equitable in the world.” During the debate Greens leader Cassy O’Connor took time to respond to opponents of the legislation like Women Speak Tasmania and the Catholic Church-backed Tasmanian Coalition for Kids according to The Mercury reporter Emily Baker.

On Twitter Australian rugby player Israel Folau came out against the legislation, following the vote. The evangelical Christian wrote, “The devil has blinded so many people in this world, REPENT and turn away from your evil ways,” alongside a screenshot of a news report about the change. Prior to the tweet, he hadn’t posted in over two months.

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Tags: Politics, Travel

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