The Wimmera Pride Project has welcomed new laws allowing transgender and gender diverse people to self-nominate their sex on their birth certificate.
Victorian Parliament's Upper House passed a new law on Tuesday that allows people who identify in this way to make the change without first having to undergo sex affirmation surgery.
Pride project member and Horsham resident Lily, who identifies as non-binary, said the law was "pretty life changing".
"A lot of trans people, like myself, have zero interest in getting surgery to validate their gender - so this change is huge for all of us," Lily said.
"I've spent years advocating for myself and educating others so I can feel safer as I move through the world; it's a constant source of exhaustion for me. In a time where attacks against trans people are constantly leveled in the media, changes like this are so valuable and empowering.
"They make the world a much safer and secure place for all trans people."
Lily said the Wimmera was, along with the rest of the world, slowly gaining a better understanding of gender diversity.
"I still see things like transphobia and homophobia regularly, but seeing how successful the Pride Night we had at the Royal Hotel was, and how many people in our community want to be the change, gives me so much hope for the future," Lily said.
Another Wimmera Pride Project member, Patrick Quaine, said the group was not consulted on this change explicitly, but that the law had come about as a result of the LGBTIQ Equality Rural and Regional Program.
He said the fight for equality continued.
"We understand the government is still working on legislation to outlaw conversion therapy which we think is another major change that needs to occur for the health and safety of LGBTQI+ youth," he said.
In a statement, the government said children could also apply, with parental support and a supporting statement from a doctor and registered psychologist or another prescribed person, confirming the decision is in the best interests of the child.
People can nominate as male, female, or any other gender diverse or non-binary descriptor they choose, but can be refused if it is obscene or offensive, or not reasonably established as a sex descriptor.
Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said the government was investing more money into Switchboard Victoria to help trans and gender diverse people distressed by the debate around the issue.
"We know (they) have done it tough... that's why we're providing additional resources so they can get the support they need," she said.
- Switchboard Victoria: 1800 184 527
- Headspace: 1800 650 890
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
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