Page 1607 - Week 06 - Thursday, 23 July 2020

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that do not reflect who they truly are. According to the largest study that has ever been conducted on the mental health of trans young people in Australia, as high as 74.6 per cent of the trans young participants have, at some time, been diagnosed with depression. As the Minister for Mental Health, I am well aware of the risk of suicide and self-harm amongst adults with depression.

However, studies also show that these risks can be substantially reduced through approaches that support young people and affirm their identities. For transgender young people, being able to socially transition and to live and be recognised and accepted as their preferred gender can make a world of difference. Identification documents that affirm their identity rather than “out” them as transgender can make everyday life much easier, from enrolling in a course, to getting a job or just showing their identification on the school bus.

Many young people in this situation are fortunate to have parents who are supportive of their journey, even when it might be challenging for families to understand and come to terms with this change. These supportive parents can assist their children to apply for a change to their birth registration details. However, other young people are not so fortunate and may have one or both parents who are not supportive of the young person seeking to change their name or sex on their birth certificate. Currently, these young people need to wait until they turn 18 to legally change their first name or their registered sex, even if they have socially transitioned and lived as their preferred gender for many years.

During consultation we heard stories of young people choosing not to seek employment or to participate in extracurricular activities because they would have to provide their identification that would “out” them. We heard from young people enrolled in private schools where the roll reflected a student’s birth name and identification and could not be changed. While teachers knew the young person and would refer to them by their preferred name, relief teachers would call out their old name, which might lead to bullying and discrimination. This bill reflects a long history of determined advocacy from young people and those who support them.

I would like to acknowledge the work of A Gender Agenda and the LGBTIQ Ministerial Advisory Council for their commitment to this reform. The government is listening and agrees that it is time that we took further steps to recognise and support young people in these situations. I would like to stress that nothing in the bill changes or affects existing requirements for consent to hormone treatment or other medical treatments for gender dysphoria. That is a matter for medical practitioners, families and, in some cases, the Family Court. This bill does not change that. The bill simply provides new pathways for young people to change their registered details and identity documents.

The bill will allow a transgender, intersex or gender diverse young person who is at least 16 years old to apply to the Registrar-General for a change of given name and recorded sex to better reflect the person’s gender identity. The young person will be able to apply directly to the Registrar-General without the need for parental consent. Young people will still need to satisfy the usual requirements for seeking a change of registered sex, which includes providing a statement from a doctor or psychologist

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