An Australian trans man and his wife have had their marriage invalidated, because the state of Victoria won’t update his birth certificate.
Recording artist Paige Phoenix is legally recognised as male by the Australian government, and was allowed to marry his female partner because he had a valid passport indicating his gender.
However, despite federal recognition, the state of Victoria requires a trans person to undergo surgery before it will amend their birth certificate.
As Phoenix has a serious underlying medical condition he is not able to have surgery, and is stuck with some documents referring to him as male, and some female.
A cross-check from Victoria’s Births, Deaths and Marriages wrongly identified him as a woman from his birth certificate, and as same-sex marriages are illegal in Australia, it was voided.
He told the Canberra Times: “Those sorts of inconsistencies are not just theoretical paperwork inconveniences – they ground themselves in very real impacts for people like me.
“When we’re forced to do things like go under the knife and have life-threatening surgery in order to have our sex recognised, it’s ridiculous.
“Culturally, we have such an emphasis on defining gender by genitals but if you walked past me on the street you wouldn’t know that I hadn’t been born male. I’m not female and I should have the right to have my documents reflect that.”
Ivan Hinton of Australian Marriage Equality said in a statement: “It is devastating that a State law can intervene to effectively terminate a loving marriage.
“Marriage is the union of two people who have chosen to build a life together based on love, commitment, respect and hope for a future. It isn’t about gender.”
“It is ridiculous that a state institution ignores Federal documents that recognise the opposite sexes of this couple while attempting to enforce Federal marriage laws, currently opposed to same-sex couples marrying.”
“By a single act by Federal parliament this situation could be resolved. Equal marriage would remove this issue entirely and provide dignity for all Australians.”
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