Trans People Need Inclusive Birth Certificates

The Victorian Parliament is considering new legislation that would make it much easier for trans/gender diverse people to change the gender marker on our birth certificates. You can help make sure this vital legislation passes.

Being forced to use ID that doesn’t match our gender is invalidating, insulting, and dangerous. We need to show ID when we enrol at school or university, apply for a job, get a working with children’s check, rent a home, open a bank account, apply for Centrelink, and so much more.

When the gender on our ID doesn’t match who we really are, we can be forced into outing ourselves as trans even when it’s not safe. For many having to show inaccurate ID is upsetting and causes dysphoria. Having the right ID makes our lives so much easier, and it sends a message to trans people that we are being recognised for who we really are.

Most MPs don’t know enough about trans people and the barriers we face to understand why having the right ID is so important. That’s where you come in. We need to tell them why this matters.

Learn about the birth certificate bill and what it means for trans youth: http://www.ygender.org.au/s/BCR.pdf

Contact your local MP:
http://www.ygender.org.au/blog/contact-mp-birth-certificates

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

Share this guide and encourage your friends to get educated and contact their MPs too.

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

TransChat: Neurodiversity

#TransChat is a monthly twitter chat on the last Sunday of every month for trans/gender diverse people, hosted by the Ygender twitter account. We’ll be kicking off at 6pm AEST and this month we’re talking about neurodiversity!

The questions will be:

  • Q0. Introduce yourself however you like

  • Q1. Does being neurodivergent impact your gender identity?

  • Q2. Does being neurodivergent impact on your ability to express/present your gender? How so?

  • .Q3 Do you find that queer/trans spaces are ableist? Do you find that neurodivergent spaces are transphobic? How do you navigate that?

  • Q4. What could queer spaces do to be inclusive and anti-ableist?

  • Q5. Which neurodivergent activists or resources by neurodivergent people would you recommend to someone who wants to learn more about neurodivergence, ableism, and how they can be supportive?

If you respond to a question such as Q1, your tweet should follow this format: 

“A1 [your message] #TransChat”.

If your tweets contain potentially triggering content, please include appropriate specific CWs!

Remember to use the #TransChat hashtag when you tweet so others can follow the discussion, and don’t forget to capitalise both words in the hashtag - it makes it easier to read and we want our online spaces to be accessible! 

You can see the whole discussion by following #TransChat (or searching it), and setting the page to ‘Latest’. This is also a great way to check out past chats!

Looking forward to talking to you!

Non-Binary Celebrities

Happy International Non-Binary People’s Day! To celebrate, I’ve rounded up a list of non-binary, genderqueer, and/or genderfluid celebrities. It can be really helpful and heartwarming to see the wide variety of people who are non-binary and to know that you’re not alone in your experience of gender.

Actor Amandla Stenberg is non-binary and prefers they/them pronouns, though they requested that their pronouns remain listed as she/her on Wikipedia so as not to affect their career. 

Amandla wrote and directed two short films by the age of seventeen. The first was an adaptation of The Yellow Wallpaper; the second was about a “spunky foster kid...seeking to find herself.” 

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While singer Sam Smith is still thinking through his gender, he has come out as non-binary and genderqueer. He says, “I’m not male or female, I think I float somewhere in between. It’s all on a spectrum.” In 2017 he said “he feels ‘just as much woman as I am man.’” Entertainment Weekly stated that Smith uses he/him pronouns, though they have no source for this.


Smith came out in an interview with Jameela Jamil for Jamil’s “I Weigh” body positivity project. Check out the photo Smith posted on his Instagram, or here’s my description of it:

A picture of Sam Smith and Jameela Jamil. Jamil is wearing a bright orange sweater and has one of her arms around Smith’s shoulders. She’s eating a cupcake with the other hand and looking at the camera. Smith, in a black sweatshirt, is loosely holding Jamil’s hand with one of his and eating a cupcake with the other. 

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Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness is non-binary and genderqueer! He uses he/him pronouns “but does not identify as a ‘man.’” In an interview with Out, he said, “some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman.” In response to a question about “feminine identity,” he said, “I feel like my feminine identity is what makes me the strongest.” 

Look at his beautiful cat saying Happy Pride!

If you’d rather not click the link, it is a photo posted to Jonathan Van Ness’ instagram, @jvn, of a very fat grey and white cat standing on a kitchen countertop. The cat is sniffing a rainbow cake covered in sprinkles: layers of coloured cake are sandwiched between white icing. There’s a slice of cake on a plate with a fork in the foreground.

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Actor and model Ruby Rose doesn’t “identify as any gender” -- she is “somewhere in the middle, which...is like having the best of both sexes.” She also identifies as genderfluid. Advocate wrote that she prefers she/her pronouns.

Ruby Rose posted a video to her YouTube channel in 2014 called Break Free in which she cuts her hair, takes off her makeup and nail polish, binds her chest, and puts on masculine clothing. Check it out here. (Binding with ace bandages the way she does in this video isn’t safe and can cause injury. Read Ygender’s article on binding safely here.)

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The rapper Roes is agender. Two different articles from 2015 give conflicting accounts of his pronouns. Buzzfeed stated that he goes by they/them and strongly dislikes she/her pronouns. In the article from The Standard, Roes said he says they/them jokingly but hates it because it makes it sound as though he is multiple people, and she/her or he/him is fine


He posted this photo for International Women’s Day, captioning it “im not just a woman, as a woman i have the ability to be anything i want. to be more than just a word, more than just a role. i am my own hero!!! #happyinternationalwomensday 🌹.” 

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Actor Ezra Miller said “I don’t identify as a man. I don’t identify as a woman. I barely identify as a human.” In a sprawling interview that covered such topics as their year 1 book report on a Stephen King novel and their four goats (I recommend giving it a read!), they said that their gender is fluid and they are “‘comfortable with all the pronouns.’” 


Earlier this year, they attended the Met Gala in an incredible outfit. Find a picture of them taken by Dia Dipasupil here.

Five Non-Binary People Talk About Being Non-Binary

Kochava, they/them
When I first read the word genderqueer it just clicked. So many things I’d experienced made sense as soon as I knew it was possible to exist outside the binary. We need more non-binary representation so that non-binary people have access to the frameworks and language we need to understand our experiences.

The gender binary is so entrenched in Australian society. Everything is forced into these two artificial boxes, even in some trans communities. I still hear other trans people insisting that non-binary people aren’t really trans or don’t belong in trans spaces and see trans resources and events that completely fail to acknowledge non-binary people. Non-binary people absolutely have a place in trans communities and saying that we don’t is transphobia. I am a genderqueer trans person and I have as much right to be here as any other trans person. 

Aoife, they/them
I like ‘nonbinary’ as a word for a few reasons. One it is that it’s a literal rejection of the binary, which is rad. I also like that it can be both a specific identity and an umbrella term, because that’s a pretty good description of how I feel about my gender - though my conceptualisation of it can change sometimes, it always exists outside the binary. For most of my life, thinking about my gender (and gender in general) just made me feel Bad. Realising I was trans was such a relief, and it gave me a better framework to look at my gender from - anything that made me feel like that, I could let go of. My gender only exists for me, so if something isn’t working, I can change it.

Felix, he/him
I’m Aboriginal and I still didn’t learn that the gender binary was brought to us through colonialism until I was 17.How messed up is that? It’s so hard to find info about our traditional gender ideas because the people who invaded our home deliberately erased it like they did with everything else. I wanna see more people, trans people and cis people, binary people and non-binary people, learning about first nations genders. Listen to brotherboys and sistergirls. Listen to us for a change. 

Z, ey/em
I love being genderfluid. I love experiencing and experimenting with so many different parts of gender. I love that I challenge people’s assumptions about what gender can be, what we can be. I love when I get to know that I’ve shown someone that they have more options than just what’s in the binary. I love how demanding that people get my pronouns right and get my name right is a small rebellion against cisnormativity. I love how strong and creative the trans community is. Being genderfluid is great.

Miriam, she/her
I think Non-Binary People’s Day is really important because we’re erased all the time. Having a day that’s about us pushes people to think about who we are and what we need and how we’re being included (or not). 

But Non-Binary People’s Day is only as good as we all make it. If you use  this is day to post a tokenistic acknowledgement of non-binary people online and that’s it, then that’s what this day is about. But if you use this day to really think about the harms of the gender binary and what you can be doing to support non-binary people, and then you start actually materially helping us, then that’s what this day is about, and that’s exactly what we need. Go tell your workplace that gender neutral toilets are a must. Go tell your school that gendered sports teams are excluding non-binary people. Start paying attention to all the ways that the gender binary sneaks into your language and start using more inclusive words.

TransChat: Queer History

#TransChat is a monthly twitter chat on the last Sunday of every month for trans/gender diverse people. We’ll be kicking off at 6pm AEST and this month we’re talking about queer history!

Our questions will be:

  • Q0. Introduce yourself however you like

  • Q1. What historical trans/gender diverse people should more people know about?

  • Q2. Do you think there's any merit to the idea that we shouldn't apply modern labels to historical figures?

  • Q3. Does queer history resonate with you personally or make you feel represented?

  • Q4. Why is knowing our history important?

  • Q5. Where did you/do you learn about queer history? Any resources you'd recommend?

You can answer as many or as few questions as you feel like!

If you respond to a question such as Q1, your tweet should follow this format: “A1 [your message] #TransChat”.

If your tweets contain potentially triggering content, please include appropriate specific CWs!

Remember to use the #TransChat hashtag when you tweet so others can follow the discussion!

You can see the whole discussion by following the #TransChat hashtag (or searching it), and setting the page to ‘Latest’.

Looking forward to talking to you!

Victorian Birth Certificate Reform

Why it Matters
For trans/gender diverse people having the wrong gender on our birth certificate makes life a lot harder. Being forced to have a document that misgenders us is a reminder that our rights and identities still aren't respected. When a trans person enrolls at a school, applies for Centrelink, or interacts with any other service that requires ID we often face confused or even hostile questions when the gender marker on our ID doesn't match our presentation or identity, and we have to risk outing ourselves in unsafe environments.

What’s in The Bill
The Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2019 (VIC) will

  • Remove the current requirement that forces trans people to undergo sex reassignment surgery before updating a birth certificate

  • Give trans people the option to have labels other than 'male' and 'female' on our birth certificates. We'll be able to self-identify with any term we choose, but terms may be rejected for being obscene or offensive, or if they're not 'reasonably established' terms.

  • Individuals already have the option to request a copy of their birth certificate where the sex field is blank or left off entirely, and this will still be an option if the new bill passes

Trans/gender diverse adults will be able to change the gender marker on our birth certificates by

  • Filling out a form

  • Providing a letter of support from another adult who we've known for at least 12 months

Trans/gender diverse young people (under 18) will be able to change the gender marker on our birth certificates by

  • Filling out a form

  • Providing a statutory declaration from parents/guardians confirming their consent

  • Providing a letter of support from a doctor, psychologist, or 'other prescribed person' stating that the change is 'in the child's best interest'

  • If under 16, the letter must also confirm our capacity to consent

Support the Bill
The last time this bill was proposed we lost by one vote. It sent a painful message to trans/gender diverse people that transphobia was still a formal part of our laws. Passing this bill will make life easier for trans/gender diverse people and show that we value inclusion and respect trans rights.

To contact your MP

  1. Look up your electorate and find out who represents you by searching for your address at www.parliament.vic.gov.au/about/electorates

  2. Click on 'View Member' to see your representative's phone number, email, and office address

  3. Call, email, or visit your representative to urge them to vote in favor of the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill. Let them know that you live in their electorate, and if you can tell them why this issue is important to you.

Fair Access For Trans Young People
Passing the bill is the first step towards fair and accurate birth certificates for trans/gender diverse people. The second step is making sure that it applies to all trans /gender diverse people.

The proposed bill requires that trans people aged 17 or younger provide a letter of support from a doctor, psychologist, or other prescribed person stating that correcting their birth certificate is in their best interest. If the list of prescribed people stays that short it will create difficult barriers for trans young people who want our birth certificates to reflect our gender. The regulations that define who is a prescribed person are separate from the bill, and can be changed after the bill is passed.

Updating a birth certificate is not a dangerous or irreversible change, and it's certainly not a medical issue. Trans people already struggle to find trans-inclusive doctors and psychologists, and for those of us in rural areas it can be all but impossible. To help all trans people we need to recognise that trans youth are the experts in ourselves, and limiting the prescribed list of people to doctors and psychologists is pathologising and will block trans youth from an important legal avenue of self-determination.

PDF

TransChat: Solidarity

This month’s TransChat is all about solidarity! TransChat is our monthly twitter chat hosted at https://twitter.com/Ygender on the last Sunday of the month.

Our questions will be:

  • Q0 Introduce yourself however you like

  • Q1 What do you want to see from people who want to be allies to trans people?

  • Q2 What do you wish allies (or self-proclaimed "allies") would stop doing?

  • Q3 How do different parts of the trans community support each other?

  • Q4 Do you think that days like IDAHOBIT are meaningful, or are they too performative?

  • Q5 After the federal election, what should people be doing right now to support trans people?

  • Q6 Which trans activists or resources by trans people would you recommend to someone who wants to learn more about trans rights and how they can be supportive?

You can answer as many or as few questions as you feel like!

If you respond to a question such as Q1, your tweet should follow this format: “A1 [your message] #TransChat”.

If your tweets contain potentially triggering content, please include appropriate specific CWs!

Remember to use the #TransChat hashtag when you tweet so others can follow the discussion!

You can see the whole discussion by following the #TransChat hashtag (or searching it), and setting the page to ‘Latest’.