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A Tasmanian Liberal conscience vote on transgender law reform will diffuse potential hate campaigns

By Rodney Croome - posted Thursday, 14 March 2019

The Government's original legislation was about removing the brutal requirement that married transgender partners must divorce before their birth certificate can be amended.

If we are going to remove that hurdle, why would we leave in place an even more brutal hurdle that affects far more transgender people, namely the legal requirement that they have invasive, expensive and dangerous surgery before they can change their birth certificate?

It is bizarre that the Government is happy to remove an old law that discriminates against transgender people, while insisting an even worse law remain.


The Government says the proposed Labor and Green reforms require further consultation, which also makes no sense.

The Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission conducted a public inquiry in 2016 that recommended the reforms currently on the table.

At the end of last year, the Northern Territory adopted, and the West Australian Law Reform Commission recommended, just the kind of reforms being debated in Tasmania.

Clearly, these reforms are not as complex or as unpopular as the Tasmanian Government wants us to believe.

What mystifies me most of all are those Liberals who say this is "cultural Marxism" when it is actually a classic liberal reform.

By allowing transgender people to amend their birth certificates without the need for divorce or surgery, we are giving them more choice, greater control over their own lives, and the same opportunities as other people.


By giving trans folk the choice to remove gender from their birth certificates, the law is effectively saying "it's not the Government's role to decide who you are, it's yours".

Giving everyday people greater choice and getting Government out of their lives is the fundamental principle behind these reforms.

Any Liberal worthy of that label should be an enthusiastic supporter of Tasmania's transgender reforms.

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This article was first published in the Tasmanian Times.

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About the Author

Rodney Croome is the National Convenor of Australian Marriage Equality and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2003 for his gay rights advocacy. He is co-author of Why vs Why: Gay Marriage.

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