Now Roz won't need divorce before changing gender on birth certificate
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Now Roz won't need divorce before changing gender on birth certificate

Transgender woman Roz Dickson won’t have to divorce her wife of more than two decades to change the gender on her birth certificate after laws were passed in state Parliament.

The Brisbane resident transitioned to live as a woman at the age of 47, after having two children with her wife Kathy.

Brisbane’s Roz Dickson will be able to change the gender marker on her birth certificate without having to have a divorce after laws passed in state Parliament on Wednesday.

Brisbane’s Roz Dickson will be able to change the gender marker on her birth certificate without having to have a divorce after laws passed in state Parliament on Wednesday.

Under restrictions in the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registrations Act 2003, Ms Dickson had faced having to divorce her wife of 28 years in order to change the gender marker on her birth certificate.

Section 22 of the act meant any Queenslander who had undergone sex reassignment surgery had to divorce their partner to have their gender legally recognised.

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The restriction was a hangover from when same-sex marriage was illegal.

Same-sex marriage was legalised in Australia in December, with couples getting married from January.

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On Wednesday evening, the Palaszczuk government amended the act.

Ms Dickson said the change meant she would finally be able to change her birth certificate "to reflect who I am".

“When I transitioned to live as a woman I became happier in myself, a more fulfilled and content person to live with and a better parent to our young children,” Ms Dickson said.

Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said the amendment had removed an “outdated” legal restriction.

“Previously any Queenslander who has undergone sexual reassignment surgery had to divorce their partner to have their gender legally recognised,” Mrs D’Ath said.

“It has been unjust and unfair and I’m proud to say this distressing choice will no longer be a requirement in Queensland.

“I hope delivering this reform will go some way to helping the transgender community to live their lives openly and without judgment.”

Human Rights Law Centre Director of Legal Advocacy Anna Brown said the change reflected community support for marriage equality.

“This is a small but significant change that will allow transgender people to be free to be who they are while maintaining their commitment to the person they fell in love with,” she said.

Ms Brown said the state government was reviewing laws that allowed people to change the gender on their birth certificate in very limited circumstances.

“Transgender people face problems every day accessing services and facilities most Australians use without thinking twice because their identity documents do not match their gender,” she said.

Amy Mitchell-Whittington is a reporter at the Brisbane Times, with a special interest in science and education