Transexual loses birth certificate court appeal

An Australian transsexual has lost a Federal Court appeal to have her birth certificate changed to alter her sex from male to female.

The woman, referred to as AB, completed her surgery to become female in April 2002.

AB, from Victoria, appealed to state’s Federal Court in July 2005 to have her birth certificate changed from male to female.

The south-eastern state of Victoria’s Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages subsequently rejected her request on the grounds that she was married leading to a massive legal dispute that set commonwealth law against Victorian law.

Under Victorian law, a person can legally have the sex recorded on their birth registration altered only before marriage, a law put in place to avoid conflict with commonwealth law over same sex marriages, which the federal government opposes.

AB took legal action, claiming that Victorian law contravenes the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act and that the initial dismissal of her appeal by the courts discriminated against her on the grounds of marital status and her being a woman.

Her initial court action was rejected by a single Federal Court justice.

On appeal at the same court in Melbourne, justices Michael Black, Susan Kenny and Roger Gyles dismissed her case by a two to one majority, ruling that Victorian and Commonwealth laws are not inconsistent and that all married persons – both male and female – are treated equally under the current legislation.