On Wednesday 17 October the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute (TLRI)  co-sponsored – with Transforming Tasmania – a forum at the University of Tasmania titled, ‘Transforming Tasmania: Legal reforms for gender diverse and intersex equality’.

A week earlier, Women Speak Tasmania contacted the TLRI and offered to present a women’s rights perspective on transgender law reform at this forum.

Our offer was politely declined, with the TLRI advising they were supporting the forum “to promote discussions about options to better protect the rights of all Tasmanians”.  Apparently “all Tasmanians” doesn’t include advocates for women’s rights.

The TLRI also advised they did not have “a current referral to make recommendations to the government on this topic”.  Now the issue of transgender law reform has been referred to the Institute by Attorney-General, Elise Archer, how can we be assured they will be impartial, given their sponsorship of the Transforming Tasmania event and the rejection of an offer to present an alternative position?

Women Speak Tasmania is developing a series of policies addressing a range of issues in the transgender rights debate.  Two of those policies, dealing with anti-discrimination law and birth certificate changes, were released earlier this week.


Transgender rights lobby group, Transforming Tasmania, believes the amendments to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1999 (Tas) introduced into the Lower House of the Tasmanian parliament on 16 October are inadequate.  They are advocating for more radical changes, including the removal of sex markers from birth certificates.

Women Speak Tasmania agrees entirely with the Attorney-General’s position that more extensive legislative reforms should not be undertaken without broad ranging community consultation.

We also need to be assured the terms of reference for the TLRI inquiry will properly address the impact of ALL proposals for legislative amendment on ALL members of the community.

Finally, will the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute agree to co-sponsor a forum with Women Speak Tasmania, and will the University of Tasmania provide us with a venue?

Women Speak Tasmania is a network of individuals, led by women and open to women, men, and transsexual and intersex people who support our work for women’s rights.  We put sex before ‘gender’.