Health · June 30, 2022

Birth certificates set to shake up

Major changes to birth certificates are in the works to allow marginalized groups better representation on official records.

Proposed changes to Queensland birth certificates could result in parents being given the option not to state gender on the official document.

The terms mother and father would be optional and people could change their gender every 12 months, sources say.

A spokesman for Queensland’s Department of Justice and Attorney General told News Corp they would make changes to “improve the recognition of transgender and gender-biased people”.

Recent meetings with women’s groups resulted in mixed feelings about the changes, with some in attendance reporting that the government intends to remove sex from the document.

They say people can choose any description of their gender as long as it isn’t obscene, contains offensive language, symbols, numbers, or is too long or “contrary to the public interest.”

Kelly Carr, representative of International Women’s Day in Brisbane Meanjin, said she was shocked by the proposal.

“When I, as a mother, heard that using the mother on the birth certificate was optional, I almost fell out of my chair,” Ms. Carr told News Corp.

According to participants in the meetings, anyone over the age of 16 could self-identify as a different gender if they had a good faith statement from someone who had known them for at least 12 months.

The 12-16 year olds may also be able to change their gender identity if they have had the support of one or both parents. Depending on the case, evidence from a child welfare specialist and a court may also be required.

Queensland and NSW are the only states that currently require a person to have had surgery to officially change their gender.

A spokesman for the Justice Department and Attorney General said the changes would bring Queensland in line with other jurisdictions.

They explained that while no proposal to remove the terms mother and father from birth certificates is being considered, there are “additional options”.

“Additional options are being considered to allow same-sex couples to register as mother/mother or father/father if they wish,” the spokesman said.

Originally posted as Big Change to Birth Certificates in an Effort for Better Representation