Passing of Gender Reassignment Bill welcome, but still much to do for true equality for LGBTIQ Western Australians

Greens spokesperson for Sexuality and Gender Identity Hon Alison Xamon MLC has welcomed the passing of legislation which will mean Western Australians changing gender will no longer be forced to divorce, but stresses there is still much to do to remove all legal barriers to true equality for the LGBTIQ+ community.

Ms Xamon said the Gender Reassignment Amendment Bill 2018, which passed the Legislative Council yesterday, brought WA into line with the rest of the country – and the Federal Marriage Act.

She said before marriage equality laws were achieved in December 2017, a married person who chose to change gender, effectively making their marriage a same-sex marriage, was forced to choose between that marriage and an updated birth certificate which showed their reassigned gender.

“Since the Federal Marriage Act was amended in December 2017, a move which also prevented states and territories from refusing to change the recorded sex on a person’s birth certificate if the person is married, WA law has been at odds with Commonwealth law,” Ms Xamon said.

“While I was very pleased to debate this important piece of legislation yesterday, transgender Western Australians are still faced with a myriad of unnecessary hurdles in order to have their gender identity officially recognised.

“There is also an immediate need to address the remaining legal barriers that still exist for the LGBTIQ as a whole and serve to undermine people’s human rights.

Ms Xamon said the community was rightly outraged when it emerged private religious schools could still legally discriminate against LGBTIQ students, staff and parents.

She said while she was pleased the Government was undertaking a review of the Equal Opportunity Act, action was needed to protect children and young people, families and workers now.

“My Equal Opportunity (LGBTIQ Anti-Discrimination) Amendment Bill, which is currently before the Parliament awaiting debate, will repeal and replace the section of the Act which allows religious schools to continue to discriminate in this way. 

“It is all the more galling considering they receive taxpayer dollars.

“We know that a lot of people would like to see the back of this terribly outdated provision and bring WA in line with other states.”

Ms Xamon said she would continue to work with the LGBTIQ community until true equality was achieved.