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ACT Human Rights Commissioner Helen Watchirs says the transgender population face discrimination in the ACT. (ABC News)
ACT bid to remove surgery requirement for trans recognition

in AUSTRALIA, 14/07/2012

Legal and human rights groups in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) are pushing to change a law which requires transgender people to have surgery in order to change their legal gender.

Currently, trans people who want to be legally recognised in their true gender must have sex reassignment surgery, a requirement campaigners say is unnecessary and inhumane. It is also out of step with national laws which allow passport identity changes without surgery.

According to the Canberra Times, the ACT Law Reform Advisory Council has released a report with a range of recommendations to improve trans rights.

Along with the removal of the surgery requirement, the proposed changes will protect trans and intersex people from discrimination arising from mismatching identity documents – such as having passports and driving licences which show different names and genders.

Peter Hyndal, of support group A Gender Agenda, told the newspaper that the proposals to remove the surgery requirement were welcome but overdue.

“It’s been a really, really long time since the issue was flagged and it would be nice to see the government move quickly,” he said.

“The surgical requirement as it stands is clearly a complete contravention of the human rights of sex and gender diverse people in the ACT.”

Attorney-General Simon Corbell called the report “a valuable insight” and said the ACT government would consider the recommendations as soon as possible.

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