Transexual activist lodges complaint with Human Rights Commission

Issue 

The NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages has refused to change a transsexual man's documents unless he undergoes life-threatening surgery.

Conor Montgomery is a 50-year-old transsexual man who was born and registered as female. After a lifetime of struggle with depression about his identity and, feeling he was really a male, he transitioned to living as male two-and-a-half years ago.

He took male hormones, had a double mastectomy and a chest reconstruction; his voice dropped and he now lives as a man. His passport states "male" and all his friends treat him as male. But, due to ill health, his doctors have advised him not to undergo genital surgery.

In late 2009, Montgomery's solicitor received a letter from the registry refusing to change his birth certificate to male. The registry would change it if he had genital surgery.

"It's ridiculous. I have some documents that say male and my birth certificate says female", Montgomery told Green Left Weekly.

"It's caused me great unnecessary stress. They need to stop messing with people's lives and give me the proper documents I need to live my life as the man that I am."

On April 7, he lodged a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission against the state and federal attorneys general, alleging that he had been discriminated against.

Due to the discrepancy between his passport and birth certificate, Montgomery is unable to marry.

Montgomery is a long-term queer and trans rights activist, and a member of Community Action Against Homophobia and the Socialist Alliance.

He is also a member of Still Fierce — Sydney's newly formed sex and gender diverse collective. He will address a rally at 1pm on May 15 at Sydney Town Hall. The rally is part of a national day of action for same-sex marriage rights.

[Still Fierce is holding a "no labels" picnic, celebrating sex and gender diversity, at Camperdown Memorial Rest Park in Newtown, 11am-4pm on April 26.]