If your genitals don’t determine your gender, what does?
It’s a confronting question. But it’s one all Tasmanian residents will be pondering after Tasmania became the first Australian state to make gender optional on birth certificates.
While there are rare medical cases where gender at birth can be difficult to determine, the sweeping new bill could have many unintended effects.
For example, a man could decide to reregister as a woman simply to take advantage of hiring quotas. No surgery required.
Or parents could decide to relabel their girl as a boy to gain access to potentially better schooling.
You might even fall afoul of politically correct anti-offence laws by asking a pregnant woman if she’s expecting a boy or a girl. The audacity!
Brushing such concerns aside, which the Liberal government have also been trying to make clear, the bill passed in parliament yesterday.
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Switching gender is as easy as signing a form
Under the new laws, according to AAP, transgender people do not need to have sexual reassignment surgery to be recognised as a different gender.
Children as young as 16 can take advantage of this freedom, and do not need parental approval to do so.
Yes, that’s right, your son can decide on a whim that he identifies more closely to the female protagonist in his favourite Netflix show, and in a moment of identity crisis fuelled by the rampant world of trends and hashtags that fills their heads, can head down to births, deaths and marriages and make himself officially female.
Nevertheless, ‘this is a historic day for transgender and gender diverse people,’ says Tasmanian transgender activist Martine Delaney, ‘I feel prouder to be a Tasmanian than I have ever felt before’.
And Liberal speaker Sue Hickey, says this legislation ‘is not a win for any political party, rather it grants dignity to the transgender community’. Though she says this on the back of the high horse of her casting vote, which enabled the legislation to pass the lower house.
A poorly-written bill with poorly thought-out consequences
The government are still firmly against the legislation, noting how it is poorly drafted and will result in unintended consequences, to which we’ve already named a few.
The bill was heavily amended in the upper house, but Tassie Premier Will Hodgman says a full review of the legislation — and how it could affect other statutes — still hasn’t happened.
‘It is highly likely the parliament will need to fix up problems with the legislation and repeal the Labor-Green amendments at a later date,’ he said in a statement.
One such ‘problem’ is being hammered by the Australian Christian Lobby, who can’t fathom how a legislation can so blatantly ignore biological truths.
Of course, ‘political correctness’ seems to be enough of an answer for these concerns. And as for how the bill could affect other areas of law, Labor and the Greens are confident it will all be fine.
As Greens Leader Cassy O’Connor says, ‘Just as it was with the vote on marriage equality, the sky is likely to remain in place with the passing of this legislation’.
Actually, this legislation will technically make that legislation redundant…think about it.
Bottom line, Prime Minister Scott Morrison last year labelled the push to remove gender from birth certificates ‘ridiculous’. And we agree.
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