Birth certificate reforms in Victoria

28 August 2019
Jodylee Bartal, Partner, Melbourne

On the evening of 27 August 2019, the Victorian Parliament passed the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill. The amendment will allow adults and children to change the sex on their birth certificate without the requirement of gender reassignment surgery. It also provides for transgender people to self-nominate their preferred gender designation (male, female, or other non-binary descriptor).

The amendment will take effect on a date to be proclaimed, or on 1 May 2020 if not sooner. Until then, the approach is that transgender people must undergo sex reassignment surgery before updating their birth certificate. The amendments recognise that gender reassignment surgery is expensive, invasive and simply not an option for many Australians.

The amendments also recognise that children can change the sex on their birth certificate without gender reassignment surgery provided they have; consent from their parents and a statement of support from either their doctor or registered psychologist which states that the change is in the best interests of the child.

The passing of the bill makes Victoria the fifth state to adopt the reform (together with Tasmania, Northern Territory, South Australia and the ACT). The effect of the amendments may be that Victoria will go further and remove the requirement of gender designations entirely from legal documents.

Gender designations, or “gender expression” as it is recognised in Tasmania, will not affect a party’s ability to seek/respond to family law proceedings. Issues may arise where separating couples do not agree to the legal change or where the child does not identify with their school’s gender designation.


To discuss how the amendments may affect you or your loved ones, speak to our Family and Relationship Law team, Jodylee Bartal, partner or Georgia Miller, lawyer.

Authored by:

Jodylee Bartal, Partner
Accredited Family Law Specialist

Georgia Miller, Lawyer

This update does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.

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