WA Law Reform Commission says ‘male’ and ‘female’ should be removed from birth certificates

WA’s Law Reform Commission is recommending a swag of radical changes in a discussion paper on “reforming” WA’s gender reassignment laws.

News.com.au reports today that one key recommendation is that a baby’s sex would no longer be recorded on their birth certificate.

Rather, the classification which would include three options (male, female and “non-binary”) would be held by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

According to the Commission, the proposed change would reduce pressure on parents of intersex children to “assign” a sex to their child before the child is 60 days old.

Other recommendations include removing the need for a person to undergo a medical procedure to change their official gender.

Instead, people will simply be able to apply to the registrar for a new “Proof of Gender” or “Proof of Sex” certificate, with three applications of this type allowed per person.

Children aged 12 or over can seek a certificate to formally change their gender. If they don’t have the permission of both parents, the matter will need to be decided by the Family Court.

Commission chairman and barrister Dr David Cox said the commission could not think of any legal reason why sex classifications were needed on birth certificates.

“For the vast majority of the population it’s not going to make one iota of difference ... it’s not going to affect the fabric of government, it’s not going to affect the fabric of society, it’s not doing anything really but it’s going to make life a lot easier for a small group of people. Is that a problem?

“To the extent that there is (opposition) I suspect it will be more ideological.”

WA Attorney-General John Quigley urged interested people to make a submission, saying any reforms would be guided by the recommendations of the commission’s final report. Submissions close on 19 October.