Tasmania passes landmark transgender rights reforms

Tasmania gender recognition

Sweeping reforms to extend gender recognition law reforms have been passed in Tasmania, Australia, despite opposition from the state government.

The Australian state’s parliament passed a bill on Wednesday (April 10) to permit people 16 or older to change their registered gender, removing requirements for transgender people to undergo surgery in order to have their legal gender recognised.

The landmark reforms also boost anti-discrimination protections for trans people, and give new parents the option to leave gender off of birth certificates.

The bill passed by a vote of 13-12, after Liberal Party of Australia speaker Sue Hickey sided with opposition Labor and Greens MPs in backing reforms against the wishes of the Liberal government.

Tasmania’s new transgender reforms are ‘world-leading’

Transgender campaigners celebrated the victory on Wednesday.

Transforming Tasmania spokesperson, Martine Delaney, said: “This is a historic day for transgender and gender diverse people, not only in Tasmania but around the world.

“This legislation ranks among the most inclusive and equitable in the world.

“Today I feel prouder to be a Tasmanian than I have ever felt before.”

— Martine Delaney

“I thank all those MPs and members of the community who have contributed to the enactment of these historic new laws.”

“Today I feel prouder to be a Tasmanian than I have ever felt before.”

A spokesperson for Tasmanian Families for Transgender Kids, Candace Harrington, said: “Parents of transgender and gender diverse kids are just so happy that our kids will no longer face legal discrimination and will be able to live their lives true to themselves.

“We are over the moon about these landmark reforms and are deeply grateful to all those politicians who have listened to our stories and supported us along the way.

“My message to other parents around Australia is to tell your personal stories as we have done. We overcame prejudice and politics and you can too.”

State government claimed ‘highly problematic’ law would have dire consequences

Premier of Tasmania and the state’s Liberal Party leader Will Hodgman previously hit out at opposition from Labor and the Greens for “hijacking” the parliamentary agenda, claiming the bill includes “legally untested, unconsulted and highly problematic changes that we could not support.”

However, Transforming Tasmania’s Roen Meijers said: “I am confident none of the supposedly dire consequences predicted by the Government will come to pass and that this reform will have nothing but a positive impact.”

Premier of Tasmania Will Hodgman opposed the reforms

Premier of Tasmania Will Hodgman opposed the reforms (Rob Blakers/Getty)

Meijers added: “Young transgender and gender diverse Tasmanians will grow up in a different world from the one we have known because the law will respect and protect who they are.

“I am so impressed by those trans and non-binary folk who have bravely told their stories and who have endured the hate campaigns we have seen in recent months.

“I hope our achievement inspires the rest of the nation to move quickly towards the reforms that are so overdue in this country.”

Tasmania was the last Australian state to decriminalise gay sex, doing so in 1997. Prior to that, gay sex could be punished with up to 21 years in jail.