The Gender Board of WA has a very specific role…The Board exists to support the process of legally acknowledging a persons Gender following reassignment procedures. The members of the Board carry out this role, with reference to a very specific set of laws laid down in the Gender Reassignment Act (WA) 2000.

Yesterday in a formal hearing, I challenged the Gender Board to issue me with a Recognition Certificate, something that the current WA Law forbids, because I remain Married to Jane…

The regimented and officious processes of my initial application to the Gender Board, was in complete contrast to the rather chaotic hearing that unfolded in room 2.03 on Monday.

I will admit to feeling somewhat daunted. I was  sat opposite a team of people whose purpose was to asses me…They were assembled with the sole purpose of judging  that I had achieved the requisite levels of social acceptance and integration in my new Gender Role. Their role was to  confirm, for legal purposes, that I have adopted the characteristics of the Gender to which I have transitioned.

It didn’t take long to regain my composure and to begin responding to their questions…They asked about my treatment, my work, my home life and if my family and friends are aware of my transition….I resisted a significant and growing urger to respond with sarcasm. Western Australia may be informal, but being ironic with a Judge is probably frowned upon. Later in the proceedings I simply couldn’t resist asking him why he needed to refer to his Terms of Reference having been in his job for some time. The response was amusing and enlightening. “This is the first time in fifteen years we have been challenged like this.”  He told me, and I had a little smile to myself, because  Its nice to know I’m still able to be a pain in the arse in the interests of doing what is right…

Overall the hearing seemed to lack structure and direction, the conversation moved backwards and forwards across the table as I explained my reasons for raising the challenge. In particular there was much discussion on my interpretation of a section of the Australia Constitution.  Section 117. “Its very hard to read this section, it’s not well written” the President of the board assured me. I responded that I was aware that that it was indeed messy, but that it was my intention to use it to challenge the rejection of my application. The members of the board themselves seemed unable to agree on the manner in which section 117 could be applied, or defended and looked to me. I suggested a couple of reference cases relating to 117 that I had read. I’m going to confess to feeling just a little bit Lawyerish when I suggested the the Board read  “Street vs Queensland Bar”  along with the conclusions that an application of this particular piece of legislation is tricky, and that it remains untested in many areas.

With the conversation exhausted, and hopefully with my status as “Trans Woman” verified to their satisfaction, I was advised that a decision was not possible on the day, and that further research into my challenge was required. An outcome is expected in the next two weeks.

In the meantime I shall dust off my application to the Appeals Court because I remain convinced that the Board will not find in my favour, I just hope this decision is not based on my Social Integration or insufficiently adopted characteristics…….