Trans men win their High Court appeal!
Activists and supporters of gender identity rights welcomed the High Court of Australia’s decision to uphold the appeal of two trans men who challenged the interpretation of the West Australian Gender Reassignment Act (2001) In what has been a long and arduous battle, the two trans men have finally been granted the right to change their birth certificates, and be legally recognised as the sex with which they identify. The landmark case tackled fundamental issues of gender and identity and set a precedent for the way laws governing the recognition of sex around the country could be applied.
Sally Goldner, spokesperson for TransGender Victoria said “The High Court ruled that the law should be applied in a beneficial way that makes life easier, not harder for people, and therefore that there was no justification for requiring people to have costly and unnecessary surgeries in order to have their sex recognised.”
The two trans men were initially granted the right to change their birth certificate in a decision of the State Administrative Tribunal back in 2009, however this decision was reversed in the Court of Appeal in 2010. In a hugely disappointing move , The Court found that genital surgery was necessary to be identified as having changed sex. Adam Hosie, spokesperson for the WA Gender Project said “Transsexual people in Western Australia, as in other parts of the country, have been unable to legally amend their sex without invasive, medically unnecessary surgeries that may be unwanted, impractical or unattainable.This has resulted in difficulties in proving ones identity on essential documentation, a loss of privacy, and the risk of exposure to discrimination, harassment and sometimes even violence.”
Peter Hyndal, spokesperson for ‘A Gender Agenda’ called on other State and Territory Governments around Australia “to reflect the High Court’s decision in their interpretation and administration of the law and to act on the recommendations of the Australian Human Rights Commission Sex Files report” Hyndal added. “We would also like to acknowledge that this historic case would not have been possible without the generous pro bono support of Freehills. Freehills commitment to this case over more than three years demonstrates their support for human rights in Australia, and we are very grateful for their efforts. We congratulate AH and AB - and also people like Conor Montgomery in NSW – for their courage and determination in tackling unfair situations. They make a huge difference for the lives of many other people in standing up for what they believe.”