Thoughts on divorce for Trans people
Thoughts on divorce for Trans people
If we accept what has been forth coming from the Federal Attorney-General’s Office and Centrelink with regard to Trans people staying married after Sex RE-assignment Surgery (SRS). They both state that the marriage is still legal, even if one of the partners has undergone SRS. This is also to be noted in the Same Sex Act to come into force as from 01-07-2009.
As there is no law that can ‘force’ people to divorce, it appears that the ‘requirement’ imposed at State and Territory level, has taken away the right of the legally married couple to determine if they should or should not divorce. Quote from a letter from the Federal Attorney-General’s Office, May 2009:- “I can now inform you that this policy will change from 1 July 2009 when all couples will be treated the same in Commonwealth social security law (i.e. the gender of members of a couple will be irrelevant). For the sake of completion, if any person divorces their spouse, and has not formed a de facto relationship with their former spouse or another person or remarried, he or she would be treated as a single person for the purposes of social security law” Dr John Boersig PSM, Assistant Secretary, Human Rights Branch.
The trauma that this ‘requirement’ has and is causing is beyond belief. It’s not just the mental anguish because of the pressures already placed on the couple due to the fact of Transsexualism, but also the fact that they are ‘forced’ to divorce in order that the Trans person can amend their Birth Certificate in order to be fully recognised in their preferred gender/sex. An amended birth certificate opens easy access to be able to amend other documents, such as passport. This will cease the situation of farce, where the Passport Office (APO) will allow the married Trans person to amend their passport. We now arrive at the situation of a female passport and a male birth certificate, or vice versa. Add to this the very fact that many couples after SRS wish to stay married for many personal reasons.
The federal Attorney-General’s Office quickly point out that this is the concern of the States and Territories with regard to a birth certificate being amended, but do not rule out what the APO, case by case basis offer to those who remain married. Again, this does not offer consistency across the Country or various jurisdictions. This is a must to do, in order that all parties concerned understand just what is required. To this end, the fact that the APO will designate pages on their website to Trans issues and how to go about solving them with concern to passports is most welcome.
We are either recognised at all levels of government in Australia as still legally married after SRS, or the element of ‘discrimination’ comes into play. We are now recognised at Federal level by departments and agencies, but not so at State and Territory level. How is this viewed by SCAG? Is this being taken into account within the new boundaries of the up dated anti Discrimination laws and the Same Sex Act, at all levels of Government in Australia?
We feel very strongly concerning this matter, after being told we are still legally married and have not elected to divorce, which is our right and no one else’s. To then be told that because one is transsexual we have to divorce in order to satisfy a State and Territory requirement, only underlines the fact that as a minority group we can be discriminated against, when all other married couples are not placed in this position.
Clearly as stated in the letter from the Attorney-Generals Office “Gender re-assignment surgery has never, of itself, changed the status of a marriage which was valid at the time of solemnization. It has always been the case that a validly solemnized marriage would continue, irrespective of whether one of the parties subsequently underwent gender re-assignment surgery. The same-sex reforms due to come into force on 1 July 2009 do not change that position.” Dr John Boersig PSM, assistant Secretary, Human Rights Branch. Therefore our marriage status should not have to alter for the States and Territories requirement that the person applying to amend their birth certificate “is not married”
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This Website Created ...... Saturday, 20. May 2006
Last Updated: Tuesday, 22. January 2008
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