Credit: WikiMedia Commons

Tasmania Makes Declaring Gender on Birth Certificates Optional — Teens Can Choose Without Parents’ Consent

“This grants dignity to the transgender community.”

The Australian jurisdiction of Tasmania passed landmark legislation Wednesday that makes declaring a gender on birth certificates optional, the BBC reported.

Tasmania will also allow 16-year-olds to change their registered gender without parental consent, becoming the first jurisdiction in Australia to adopt the controversial reform.

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Additionally, the law removes requirements that people have sexual reassignment surgery in order to change their government recognized gender.

Australia’s Liberal Party, which would be considered conservative or libertarian-leaning in the U.S., opposed the legislation.

Liberal Speaker Sue Hickey voted against her own party in favor of the legislation, saying it it “grants dignity” to transgender people.

“This is not a win for any political party, rather it grants dignity to the transgender community,” Hickey said.

The bill was introduced by the state’s Green and Labor party’s last year, but faced stiff opposition from the state government. Premier of Tasmania Will Hodgman, a member of the Liberal Party, argued the bill could have unintended consequences.

“This legislation has ignored the views of Tasmanians and eminent legal stakeholders who have raised concerns and pointed out that there has been no opportunity to undertake a full review of what is being proposed and how it impacts on other statutes,” Hodgman said in a statement.

“It is highly likely the parliament will need to fix up problems with the legislation,” Hodgman continued.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, leader of the Liberal Party, has called the effort to remove gender from birth certificates “ridiculous.”

The effort has also been opposed by the Australian Christian Lobby, which argues the removal of gender ignores biological truths.

Tasmania’s move comes as awareness regarding transgender rights has rapidly advanced around the world.

Late last year, Germany started allowing its citizens to choose their gender on birth certificates and other legal documents. In doing so, Germany joined at least eight other countries in allowing similar freedoms after Argentina was the first to allow it in 2012.

More recently, a Canadian court set a new legal precedent by blocking a father from preventing his 14-year-old child’s female-to-male gender transition.

In the United States, the states of Oregon, Washington, California, and Maine allow some form of gender customization on official documents like drivers licenses.

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Cover image: Trans Pride. (WikiMedia Commons)

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