Recognising the lived experience of Canberrans in birth documents


Proposed legislation to give young transgender, intersex and gender diverse Canberrans more accessible pathways to change their given names and sex details on birth certificates will be presented to the Legislative Assembly today.

The Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2020 will be introduced to the Legislative Assembly to assist in improving the wellbeing of all Canberrans regardless of gender or personal history.

Recognising young people’s true lived gender identity in birth documents

The proposed changes will allow young people to have their true lived gender identity recognised on official documents.

Young people who are 16 will be able to apply directly to the Registrar to change their details. Young people over 12 but under 16 will be able to apply to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal for leave to apply to the Registrar.

The Tribunal will determine whether those young people have sufficient understanding to make the decision for themselves. Children under 12 can only apply, via the Tribunal, in exceptional circumstances and with the consent of one parent.

Nothing in the Bill changes or affects existing requirements for consent to hormone treatment or other medical treatments for gender dysphoria. That is a matter for medical practitioners, families and in some cases the Family Court.

The Bill fulfils, in part, a commitment of the Government to ‘improve processes for changing birth registration and birth certificates for trans and gender diverse people, particularly young people, as stated in the Capital of Equality First Action Plan 2019 & 2020.

“Discrimination, prejudice and bullying adversely affect the emotional and physical safety of transgender, intersex and gender diverse children and young people. Everyone deserves to have a birth certificate that reflects their true identity,” ACT Minister for Justice Shane Rattenbury said today.

Integrated birth certificates for adopted people

The proposed changes will also allow for integrated birth certificates for adopted people which recognise both birth parents and adoptive parents, in recognising their personal and family history.

“The current process of issuing a birth certificate with adoptive parents listed as birth parents reflects historical attitudes where secrecy was considered important to protect children and adoptive families from the stigma associated with adoption,” Minister Rattenbury said today.

“Integrated birth certificates means recognition that those who have been adopted deserve the option of a birth certificate that shakes off this historical stigma, and that acknowledges the reality of their lived experience.”