Can I Register A Change To My Child’s Sex?


New reforms to Queensland’s Births, Death’s and Marriages legislation in Queensland.

Queensland’s Births, Death’s and Marriages Registration Act 2023 (Qld) has now been passed by Parliament. The new Act provides important changes for gender inclusive reform for transgender and gender diverse individuals and children to register a change of sex on their birth certificates, without having to undergo sexual reassignment surgery and procedures.

Specifically, important changes have been made for parents of gender diverse children which grant them permission to change the sex on their child’s birth certificate when the child is  under 16 years of age. Under section 51 of the new Act, parents, can make an application to the Registrar to change the description of their child’s sex. This is called a ‘recognised details certificate’ under the Act. It is important to note that under the preceding Act, an application for a child’s sex to be re assigned could only be made if;

  1. The child had undergone sexual reassignment surgery; and 
  2. A statutory declaration was provided and verified by two doctors that the child had undergone sexual reassignment surgery. 

New Reforms For Gender Diverse Children Under The Act

The new Act no longer requires a child to have undergone sexual reassignment surgery before making an application, which largely adheres to changes in societal norms toward gender inclusive reform recognised as a legal right for children under the age of 16 years old.

So how easily can a child’s sex be changed legally under the age of 16?  

Under the current Queensland’s Birth, Death’s and Marriages Registration Act, an application by the parent/s to the registrar under section 40 accompanied by a sex descriptor for the child and a nominated fee for the process of the application is required. Court orders will also need to be provided, if relevant to the application. An application can simultaneously be made to the Registrar to change the name of the child if necessary.

Notably, the new Act does little to constrain the power of the registrar to refuse an Application for a change of description to a child’s sex. In fact, under the new legislation, the grounds in which a registrar must refuse to issue a certificate are limited under section 54 of the Act; such as when a prohibited sex description for the child is provided  by the parent/s or the Registrar has good reason to believe that the birth certificate will be used for an improper or a fraudulent purpose by the parent/s concerned.

Impact Of Changes To The Act On Family Law Matters:

The new legislative amendments  for gender diversity also provide for greater interaction with powers of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia in its ability to make parenting orders under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). 

The legislative amendments allow for two or more persons who have parental responsibility to make decisions about major long term issued for a child,  such as changes of description to a child’s sex under a parenting order made under the Family Law Act. This may also be relevant if you are a grandparent who have is applying for parenting orders under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). 

If a child’s parent’s are separated, that parent is able to apply to change a child’s sex if they have sole parental responsibility to make decisions about major long-term issues for the child under a parenting order made under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)

The Family Law Act’s primary objective is that the child’s best interest is of paramount consideration in parenting orders. The new changes to the Queensland Birth’s Death’s and Marriages Act 2023 will place an even greater emphasis on the Court’s role for those seeking parental responsibility to change the gender description of a child under the age of 16 years who is experiencing gender transition or diversity.

How Can Our Brisbane Family Lawyers Help You?

If you are undergoing separation and this article has raised any questions or concerns relating to childrens’ matters or any other family law related matter, our leading Brisbane family lawyers are here to provide you with expert legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances. 

To book a fixed fee initial consultation or speak with one of our Brisbane family lawyers please contact our office on 0732293339.

Written by Christina Simonidis, Solicitor, Simonidis Steel Lawyers

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