It was truly TGIF for trans people in Tasmania, as newly passed laws came into effect on Friday allowing them to change the gender marker on their birth certificates for the first time.
Martine Delaney, who has fought for the changes for over a decade, was the first to get a new birth certificate under the laws. After years of being forced to live with gender markers that don’t reflect who they are, lawmakers voted in April to allow trans people to correct their identity documents.
Holding a copy of a pink, white, and blue birth certificate, Delaney told QNews it was a triumph both for her and the entire trans community.
“It is the culmination of a struggle, lasting almost a generation, to have equity for transgender and gender diverse Tasmanians,” she said in an interview with the Australian LGBTQ+ outlet. “The sky hasn’t fallen in, and it’s now a little easier for transgender and gender diverse Tasmanians to be who we really are.”
“For the first time in my life, my birth certificate reflects who I really am,” she added.
According to QNews, there are several components to the new trans affirming laws, which have been praised as the most progressive in Australia. Adults can change their gender markers — or remove them altogether — without needing to undergo surgery or other medical procedures. In addition, parents can opt to not put a gender marker on an infant’s birth certificate and trans youth can apply to change their gender markers without parental approval.
The new laws protect against hate speech on the basis of trans or intersex indentities. It also removed an old regulation requiring trans people to divorce their partners before they could legally change their gender.
Trans and gender nonconforming people across Australia are hopeful that Tasmania’s new reforms will push the rest of the counrty forward. Several other Australian states have some protections for trans people, and Victoria recently changed its laws requiring surgery for trans people before they can change their gender markers.
But while all of Australia catches up with Tasmania, others shared their elation following Friday’s historic moment.
Australian Green Party politician Cassy O’Connor posted a Facebook photo of her trans son, Jasper, with his new, corrected identification documents. “Couldn’t be prouder,” she said. “Today is a day for celebration, but the struggle for equality and fairness continues.”
On the first day of the new law, staff at the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages reportedly wore lanyards the color of the trans flag to show support for trans Tasmanians.