Tell your MP: Trans People Need Inclusive Birth Certificates

If you’re just hearing about the birth certificate bill or aren’t totally sure what it’s about read this one page summary first: http://www.ygender.org.au/s/BCR.pdf

Too many politicians don’t know enough about trans rights to understand why having a birth certificate that shows our real gender is important, and anti-trans groups are taking advantage. We need to make sure that the people voting on our lives hear from us.

Find your electorate
1. Go to https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/about/electorates and type in your address

2. Once you type in your address you'll see two boxes- one that tells you your district and one that tells you your region. Click Region to see who represents you in the Legislative Council, and District to see who represents you in the Legislative Assembly. The birth certificate bill needs to pass both the council and the assembly to become law.

3. When you click district or region you’ll see who represents you. Click view member to see their office phone number, address, and email.

Write your message
Your message will be more effective if you personalise it. Tell them why this matters to you, whether that’s because it affects you, or someone you know, or because this cause is important to you. Your message doesn’t need to be long, and it can say whatever you want. If you’re not sure where to start, use this template- you can copy any of this text directly and change any parts of it you want.

Introduce yourself
Tell them who you are. Make sure to mention that you live in their electorate- that means you’re one of the people who could vote for or against them, and it means they’re meant to represent you. Some examples are

  • My name’s David and I’m a 23 year old student living in Carlton.

  • I’m writing to you as a transgender person who’s lived in your electorate for over 20 years.

  • As a bisexual parent of a non-binary child LGBTQ equality is very important to me. As a family that lives in your electorate, we hope it’s important to you too.

Tell them why you’re contacting them
This is the main part of your message. Explain why this issue matters to you and why they should care. Personal stories are really effective here. Some examples are

  • I’m writing to you about the proposed amendment to the Births, Deaths, and Marriages Act that would make it easier for transgender people to update our birth certificates and give us the option of listing genders other than female or male for the first time. These changes would make a huge difference to me and thousands of trans people like me.

    Having a birth certificate with the wrong gender reminds me that I live in a society that doesn’t fully accept me every time I need to show ID. Facing hostile reactions when someone sees that the gender marker on my birth certificate doesn’t match the gender they know me as puts me in real danger.

  • Many trans people are stuck with birth certificates that list the wrong gender because the current requirements to change the gender marker are far to difficult. Forcing a trans person to undergo a surgery they may not want just to have an ID that reflects who they are is completely unreasonable, and limiting gender markers to female and male excludes everyone who doesn’t fit in either of those narrow boxes.

    If trans people can change their birth certificates to reflect who they truly are they’ll have an easier time enrolling in schools, applying for jobs, interacting with government services, and just living their lives. Everyone deserves to define their own identity and be recognised for who they are.

Tell them what you want
For this issue it’s pretty simple: you want them to vote for the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2019. You could say

  • I urge you to vote in favour of the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2019

  • Please support transgender people by voting for the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2019

  • When the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2019 is being debated in the Victorian Parliament please speak up in favour of this bill and vote for it to pass.

  • I hope you will make a public statement supporting the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2019 and will vote for equality when the bill is debated in our parliament.

Finish the message
Keep this short- you can thank them for their time, or let them know if you want a reply (if you do, make sure to tell them how to contact you!). Then just add your name and you’re done.

  • Thank you for reading my letter, and I hope you’ll remember my story when it’s time to vote on this bill.

  • I look forward to hearing where you stand on inclusive birth certificates for everyone. Please let me know by replying to this email.

  • I would appreciate a reply with any information about where you stand. My address is…

What’s Next

After you’ve contacted your representative there’s more you can do!

Donate to support trans advocacy led by trans people: https://donorbox.org/ygender

Share information about the birth certificate bill: http://www.ygender.org.au/s/BCR.pdf

Share this guide on how to help with your friends and ask them to show their support: http://www.ygender.org.au/blog/help-make-birth-certificates-trans-inclusive