How to legally change your sex descriptor on your Victorian Birth Certificate 

As of May 1st 2020, legislation has changed in Victoria making it easier for Trans, Gender Diverse and Non Binary people to change their sex marker on their birth certificate. Last year I was a part of this campaign and was in parliament the day it passed, amongst many other community members who made this change possible. 

After what feels like an extremely long wait time, from the moment it passed to May 1st 2020, the day has finally come where we can now change our birth certificates to reflect our identity.

 

Unlike some other states, Victorian laws now allow you to write down a gender descriptor of your choosing. This means no limited drop down menu, we have free choice over what we write down. How awesome is that!?

The process to legally change your details can be a little overwhelming and stressful. I’ve created the below step by step process to make this enjoyable and as stress free as it can be. Remember, this journey is one where you stop and smell the roses so congratulations and enjoy these moments! 

Legislative changes in Victoria

In Victoria it’s now possible to legally change the record of your sex on your birth certificate without having to undergo medical procedures. For those under the age of 18, your parent/ guardian will need to support you through the application. The process starts with Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Note: Remember you can only change your sex once in a 12 month period.

Providing a supporting statement

A supporting statement from someone who has known you for at least 12 months - this is a simple step in Part 4 of the application process. This must be provided by someone over the age of 18 and can be a friend, family member (not your parent or guardian), colleague, doctor or psychologist peer support worker etc. This person will need to simply provide their full name and signature as well as tick two boxes in your application. 

Note: If your supporting statement is from your doctor/psychologist then they do not need to have known you for at least 12 months. Everyone needs to provide a supporting statement, if you are under 18 the person providing the statement must be over 18 years of age. 

The boxes will state two statements with a yes and no answer. 

  • In my opinion, the person making this application to change their record of sex is doing so in good faith 

  • I support this application to change the applicant’s record of sex

Choosing a sex descriptor outside of Male/Female? 

Something to keep in mind when changing your sex to something outside of the binary of Female and Male is that some place for example your bank, medicare etc. will not have a option for your gender/sex marker outside of the gender binary of M and F. 

When changing your passport, you are able to choose a third option outside of M and F, that is Intersex/Indeterminate/Unspecified and will show up as X. This can be very unsafe and restricting when travelling to countries who do not recognise or support identities outside of the gender binary.

This does not mean that you cannot change your sex marker to X on your passport. Although it is  important to consider this when changing your sex marker/descriptor.  

The online process

You will be asked to provide current details such as: 

  • Name and Date of Birth

  • Any previous names you’ve been legally known by

  • Your name at birth

  • Whether you intend to change your name (this must be done separately, see our how to change your name article)

  • Original (not a copy) birth certificate, you will need to post this so they can replace it with your new certificate (If you do not have your original birth certificate then you need to provide a statutory declaration explaining why, don’t worry this process is fairly simple)

  • Proof of your identity (see below list for documents)

  • Your chosen sex descriptor, it will ask you ‘What do you want your new record of sex to be?’

  • You will need a witness to sign the application form, this can be anyone and they will need to provide basic details such as their name, address and contact details. 

  • Supporting statement see above for more details 

  • Statutory declaration from a parent/ legal guardian - If you are under 18.

You can change your sex to what matches with your identity. For example you may want to write, Non Binary, Transgender Female, Female, Male, Intersex, Genderless, Genderqueer, Brother Boy, Sister Girl, Two Spirit etc. Check out the descriptor restrictions for more information on what you cannot choose. 

Can I change my name and sex descriptor at the same time? 

Yes! You can submit a change of sex application with a change of name application and only have to pay one fee, instead of paying for both separately!

Under 18? 

Unfortunately if you are under the age of 18 you will need the consent of two parents or a legal guardian, they will need to fill out the application with you. 

The parents/guardian will need to supply a statutory declaration stating: 

  • The child’s birth is registered in Victoria

  • The child consents to their record of sex being changed to the one nominated in the application

  • You believe the change is in the child’s best interests 

  • The child’s record of sex has not been changed in the last 12 months

Exemptions if you do not have both parents' consent:

  1. The child's birth certificate names only one parent

  2. The other parent named on the child's birth certificate has died

  3. A court order, stating that your child's record of sex is to be changed to the new record of sex, issued by:

  • The County Court of Victoria

  • The Family Court of Australia

  • The Federal Circuit Court

  • A Magistrates’ Court in Australia.

You must provide proof of the above. See applications by one parent for more information.

The rest of the online process is the same.

Note: A court order granting you sole parental responsibility alone does not give you the right to change your child's record of sex.

Providing certified and supporting documents

You will need to provide certified copies of your documents, this process involves someone with legal authority. Make copies of your documents, bring them to the certified person (list here) along with the originals. They will examine your copies to see if they are true copies, then stamp and sign the copies. This is what you will provide to Births, Deaths and Marriages as proof of your identity. 

 

  1. Apply online for your change of sex certificate and pay $110.50

  2. Email vicbdm@justice.vic.gov.au with your Order number, you will get this number once you have completed your application in step 1. You must provide A clear reason as to why it is critical (See below for an example) - This is only required due to COVID-19 restrictions.

 

 

Proof of identity documents

You will need the following to prove your identity, the documents you provide need to be current and not expired. 

  • Australian Passport or ImmiCard and 

  • Australian driver licence or learner permit

If you do not have both of these documents you will need to provide any three of the following, one from each list: 

 

List 1:

  • Firearms licence

  • Foreign passport

  • Security/Crowd/Control licence

  • Tertiary education institutional ID card (with photo)

  • Working with Children Check card

 

List 2

  • Australian birth certificate or Australian citizenship certificate 

  • Australian change of name certificate 

  • Australian Marriage certificate 

  • Medicare card 

  • Visa verification (printed visa status from VEVO)

List 3

  • Bank statements

  • Credit or debit card 

  • Centrelink card (pension concession card, healthcare card, seniors card, department of veterans affairs card) 

Issued in the last 12 months:

  • Lease agreement or rates notice

  • Superannuation fund statement

  • Utility account (gas, water, electricity, mobile or home phone)

All documents must be in English, if not click HERE.

COVID-19 Restrictions

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Births Deaths and Marriages are only processing critical applications. Therefore you must provide a reason as to why this application is critical if you wish to send your application off during this time. Check on their website for an update on these restrictions. 

This process is clearly critical and essential for any person wishing to finally be able to change their sex descriptor, and so providing an explanation is unfrotaunely mandatory right now. So we have made it easier for you and provided you with an example below. 

This must be emailed to vicbdm@justice.vic.gov.au separately, see the Providing certified and supporting documents section above. 

Example 1 - Mental Health and Wellbeing related

My name is XX  (same as the name you used on the application) and I have submitted my Change of Sex application online, here is my order number: XXXXX.

The reason this is critical is because I have been waiting years for the chance to have a sex descriptor that matches by gender identity. It is crucial to my mental health and wellbeing that this change occurs as soon as possible.

If you require further information please let me know.

Example 2 - Other specific requirements

My name is XX  (same as the name you used on the application) and I have submitted my Change of Sex application online, here is my order number: XXXXX.

The reason this is critical is because I need to open a new bank account/apply for university (write down the reason you need to your new birth certificate).

If you require further information please let me know.

Are you ready to apply? Adult application HERE. Child application HERE.

Check out Transgender Victoria's fact sheet for more information!

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