In 2019, the Victorian Women's Guild campaigned agaist amendments to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act that would allow for the natal sex as recorded on a birth certificate to be changed through a statutory declation.
The key ponts of the legislation follow.
The Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Act 2019
The BDMRA (2019) amends to the BDMRA (1996).
Prior to the amendment, to change one’s sex in the birth register, Victorians had to undergo 'sex affirmation surgery’, which is a ‘surgical procedure involving the alteration of a person’s reproductive organs carried out for the purpose of assisting the person to be considered a member of the opposite sex’.
The amendment replaces this requirement with an ‘acknowledgement of sex application’, in which the applicant makes a statutory declaration to the effect that they believe their sex to be as nominated. Applications must include a supporting statement from a second person, and cannot be made more than once a year.
The act includes a few minor gate-keeping requirements:
Firstly is that applications may not be sought for ‘fraudulent or other improper purposes’. However there is no mention or logical method by which fraud could be established.
The second is that that detainees, prisoners, prisoners on parole, offenders, and registrable offenders all may not make applications without approval from further (specified) officials. However we believe we need social policy consultation on the issue, in particular, of male sex offenders wanting to change their record of sex to female.
Thirdly, parents, with consent of their child, can change the sex of their child on their birth certificate. This raises ethical questions about the capacity of children to be able to give informed consent to their parent to change their sex on a record of birth.
See our Summary of the Bill for more details
As part of our campaign, we held a public meeting on 'The Future of Sex-based Rights' in Aug 2019 at the University of Melbourne. The meeting was attended by about 100 people, including some State politicians. The meeting was recorded.