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While several groups and individuals are lobbying for extended transgender rights at law, Women Speak Tasmania is working on a comprehensive series of policies to address changes in the law that have promoted the rights of transgender persons ahead of the sex-based rights of women.
“We have drafted two policy position papers, initially, that consider transgender rights and women’s rights in anti-discrimination law, and in the law regarding changes to sex markers on birth certificates,” said spokesperson, Bronwyn Williams. “These policies have been forwarded to all members of the Tasmanian Parliament for comment.
“Under our proposals, the terms ‘gender’ and ‘gender identity’ will be removed from the relevant legislation, and ‘gender identity’ will be replaced with ‘social identity’ as a protected characteristic under the Anti-discrimination Act 1998 (Tas). ‘Biological sex’ will become a protected characteristic under the Act.
“‘Gender’ and ‘gender identity’ are confusing concepts that are not adequately defined in the current law. ‘Social identity’ more accurately describes the incongruence with biological sex that characterises transgenderism.
“We want to end the confusion,” said Miss Williams. “We also believe there should be no changes to sex markers on birth certificates. Birth certificates are historical records that serve a number of demographic functions and inform both government policy and legislation in a wide range of areas.
“We propose, instead, a process of application for a Recognition Certificate, to be issued after consideration by a dedicated, properly constituted Board.
“It’s time we take stock and re-assess laws that have given us the ultimate legal fiction – where biological males can be declared legally female. This fiction has already eroded the rights of women and girls to female-only spaces and services. If male-bodied people are permitted to be legally recognised as female on the basis of self-identification alone, as proposed by groups like Transforming Tasmania, women’s sex-based rights will be a thing of the past.”