In 2020, ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury introduced legislation overhauling the births, deaths and marriage registration act to allow children under the age of 18 to officially change their gender identity and their name.
The reforms – which came into effect on August 20, 2021 – established a pathway for a child as young as 12 to change their name and gender without parental consent.
The ACT government told The Australian that since the changes entered into force, “approximately 30 young people between 12 and 17 have registered a change of sex.”
A child under the age of 12 may also apply in “exceptional circumstances” but only with the consent of one person with parental responsibility.
For a child aged 16 and over, the process is relaxed and they are able to amend their birth certificate by applying to the Registrar-General for a change of given name and recorded sex.
Mr Rattenbury said no parental consent was needed in these cases but young people would still need to satisfy the usual requirements for seeking a change of registered sex, including the provision of a statement from a doctor or a psychologist.
The ACT Liberals have opted not to make an issue of the reforms, with Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee telling The Australian: “I think the issues that resonate broadly in the community are the practical issues.”