A 16 year old can’t vote, can’t drink, and under Tasmanian law, they can’t even buy a can of spray paint. They are still legally a child.
Yet, under proposed changes before Tasmania’s Parliament, at 16 you will be able to change both your gender and name, without your parents’ approval.
Most people probably know that under the changes, a child’s sex won’t be recorded on birth certificate unless parents ask.
But did you also know that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade requires documentary evidence of a person’s sex for all first-time passport applications?
And, if these changes become law and a child’s parents decline to put their sex on their birth certificate, the only way to get that information added will be via an application to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, or even a Magistrate in some circumstances? What about the fact you could be fined up to $3000 for “misgendering” someone – for example, by calling them “mister” when they identify as a woman?
These are just some of the consequences of the proposed new gender laws that the Tasmanian Coalition For Kids is concerned about. We believe these proposed gender laws have been rushed, with no consultation or proper legal analysis and they go too far.
Every Tasmanian will be affected – be it through making sex on birth certificates optional; the changes to anti-discrimination law; or the potential flow on impacts to things like single-sex schools, and women’s sport. There are even implications for the prison system. Recently in the UK, a male who self-identified as female was transferred to a women’s prison where he shockingly sexually assaulted two female prisoners.
Now the UK Government is opening a separate unit for transgender inmates.
Is the Tasmanian Government planning and budgeting to build separate transgender units at Risdon Prison, and in the new northern prison, if these laws pass?
I want to be clear: we fully support transgender individuals, but we believe that debate on these proposed legal changes should be deferred so a Parliamentary Inquiry can consult with the public and call for expert analysis. We just want to let kids be kids.
That’s why we strongly believe that debate on these proposed legal changes should be deferred to a Parliamentary Inquiry so full and proper public consultation can occur.
And, the Law Reform Institute should be allowed time to properly consider the full range of legal changes and ramifications of these proposed new laws.
- Ben Smith is the Tasmanian Coalition for Kids' spokesman.