Equality Tasmania campaign provides a 'human face' to landmark gender law reforms

MY STORY: Transgender Tasmanian Jacques of Latrobe is among those who feature in an Equality Tasmania campaign about gender law reform. Picture: Phillip Biggs
MY STORY: Transgender Tasmanian Jacques of Latrobe is among those who feature in an Equality Tasmania campaign about gender law reform. Picture: Phillip Biggs

Francene Jacques has experienced many things throughout her life, from serving in Malaya during the Vietnam War to teaching on the West Coast.

But one thing above all has "without a doubt completely changed" the 78-year-old: obtaining a birth certificate that matched her true gender.

"The euphoria was unexplainable," the northern Tasmanian woman said.

"I never ever thought that a piece of paper would be so important and mean so much to me."

Jacques, of Latrobe, was able to change her certificate from male to female last September after the passage of Tasmania's landmark gender laws, which removed the requirement for surgery before such a change.

For Jacques, it meant she had something she "never, ever thought would be possible".

"I always used to think I would be buried as an old man but I wanted to be buried as an old now and now I can," she said.

Jacques is among a group of transgender and gender diverse Tasmanians featured in a new video campaign that highlights the personal impact of gender law reform.

The videos were produced by Equality Tasmania and were released this week following a positive Tasmania Law Reform Institute report about the gender law reforms.

Equality Tasmania spokesperson Roen Meijer said the aim was "to show the human face of Tasmania's groundbreaking reforms".

"Personal stories are the key breaking down misconceptions and fostering acceptance," Meijers said.

"We also want to inspire other places across Australia and around the world to follow Tasmania and enact these important reforms."

The gender law reforms also make it optional to record the sex of a newborn on a birth certificate and provide diverse gender descriptions in registration documents.

AT HOME: Francene Jacques of Latrobe with he wife Pauline Jacques at their Latrobe home. Picture: Phillip Biggs

AT HOME: Francene Jacques of Latrobe with he wife Pauline Jacques at their Latrobe home. Picture: Phillip Biggs

Jacques said none of the "rubbish" predicted by opponents of the laws had eventuated and the Tasmanian reforms had subsequently been followed by Victoria.

She said "people have no idea" how much the change of an official document meant for people like herself.

"There's a lot of people out there who don't understand it and form an opinion on it from one side," she said.

"I always say they should listen to our story and then make a decision.

This story The 'human face' of landmark gender law reforms first appeared on The Advocate.