New transgender law in Australia could make it illegal to call individuals 'he' or she'

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor
A proposed change to the anti-discrimination law in Australia could support transgender people. [Photo: Getty]

A controversial new transgender law could see people in Tasmania, Australia imprisoned for using the pronouns ‘he’ or ‘she’.

The change in the anti-discrimination law, if it passes through government, would make it illegal to refuse to call people by their preferred gender pronoun.

So, if someone has decided to transition from male to female, it would be illegal to refer to them with the pronouns of their former gender: ‘he’ or ‘him’.

The law change would also allow parents to decide whether to record their child’s gender on birth certificates or to opt out.

Individuals aged 16 or older will also be allowed to change their gender by law, under the change.

The proposed reform was put forward by Tasmania’s Labour opposition party and the Greens, and will have to pass the state’s upper house courts in order to become state law.

The reforms have been praised by Transforming Tasmania, a local transgender rights group.

However, Dr Greg Walsh, a senior lecturer in law at the University of Notre Dame Australia, is more conflicted.

He told The Australian: “Although it is admirable that parliamentarians want to ensure those who are transgender are respected, the attempt to use state power to force individuals to use language that contradicts their deeply held beliefs is completely unacceptable.”

Meanwhile, journalist Miranda Devine told Sky News Australia the policy was “nonsense”.

She said: “Once Tasmania goes, the nation will go. Labor’s policy platform is riddled with identity politics and this gender neutral nonsense.”

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