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WA to close ‘legal loophole’ on gender reassignment laws

Laws in Western Australia will soon change to permit married people to undergo gender reassignment surgery.

user iconMelissa Coade 23 January 2018 The Bar
Scales of Justice
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All individuals who identify as intersex, regardless of martial status, will be able to legally change their gender identity in Western Australia.

Under current state laws, only those who are single in WA are considered eligible for an official change in gender identity with the state’s Gender Reassignment Board.

This week Attorney-General John Quigley announced that the state government planned to abolish the “legal anomaly”.


“Intersex people who are happily married and want to change their gender identity should not have to abandon their marriages,” Mr Quigley said.

The move comes after steps were taken to legalise same-sex marriage in Australia late last year. Once WA passes its reforms, intersex couples will not have to divorce their partners in order to have their changed gender identity officially recognised.

“Amending the state’s 17-year-old gender reassignment laws to bring them into sync with the expectations of today’s society, and new federal laws on same-sex marriage, is important,” the AG said.

The WA Law Reform Commission has been asked to review particular aspects of the state’s gender reassignment laws as they relate to people who identify as intersex, or who do not identify as male or female. Terms of reference for the review will be released for public comment later in the year.

Mr Quigley indicated that he intended to close the legal loophole before the law reform commission published its report.

"I urge the public to comment on this matter when the Law Reform Commission releases its discussion paper later this year,” the AG said.  

"The McGowan government, in office for less than a year, has already demonstrated its commitment to the LGBTI community, particularly in the case of expunging historical homosexual convictions."

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