Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed has supported the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendments Bill before Parliament this week, describing it as a “difficult” Bill, raising a complex issue.
The Bill amends the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act of 1996 to enable transgender, gender diverse and intersex adults and children to alter the record of sex in their Victorian birth certificate, without having to undergo sex affirmation surgery.
They also will no longer have to be unmarried at the time.
Ms Sheed said it follows the lead of many amendments, which reflect social and cultural changes, including that of the Family Law Act.
“The inclusion of de facto relationships, and ultimately same-sex relationships falling within the jurisdiction of the Family Court were very significant changes, reflecting changes within the wider society,” Ms Sheed said.
In voting in favour of the Bill, Ms Sheed reflected on media coverage in mid-July, which celebrated Shepparton for its acceptance of transgender teenagers.
“These articles highlighted how supported these teenagers felt in the community. They said they felt comfortable to be themselves, and LGBT support groups in the region have had a shift from being predominantly gay and lesbian, to having significant number of transgender youth,” Ms Sheed said.
In preparing to speak on the Bill Ms Sheed also spoke with Royal Children’s Hospital gender service team specialist Dr Michelle Telfer.
“She has seen hundreds of young people in her practice, and reiterated how important it is for young people to have their identity acknowledged as being valid and legitimate,” Ms Sheed said.
“When new laws are passed, there are always issues raised about what may arise as a detrimental impact from that law, but we have been moving in a direction of acceptance of diverse gender identities for some time.
“There have been some possible impacts raised in relation to this legislation, particularly arising from the apparent ease with which a nomination of gender can be made, and later changed.
“It can’t be denied that there may be some adverse impacts, and that amending legislation may be required in the future to deal with them.
“In considering this legislation, I reflect on how I would feel to be a mother of young transgender person.
“For so many parents, there must be some pain and grief associated with knowing the difficulties your child will face as a transgender person.
“Acceptance of the circumstances you are faced with as a parent, and the desire, more than anything, for your child to be accepted for who they are, and to not suffer because of who they are, will be a dominating factor,” Ms Sheed said.
Sueanne McCumstie 0428 743 880│firstname.lastname@example.org