Our work

Roberta Perkins Law Project – 15 June 2020

This June we are thrilled to officially launch the first legal service for trans and gender diverse people in Victoria.

A partnership between St Kilda Legal Service and Transgender Victoria, the Roberta Perkins Law Project (RPLP) is a two-year program designed to address the specific legal needs of the Victorian trans and gender diverse community. The Project is made possible by a City of Melbourne Social Innovation Partnership grant.

Following a visioning day workshop with members of the community in 2019, the project was named by popular vote in honour of Roberta Perkins (1940-2018). Roberta Perkins was a trailblazing Australian sociologist, writer and transgender rights and sex worker rights activist. Roberta wrote several books and academic articles on the lives of transgender sex workers and established the first assistance centre for transgender people in Australia.

In October 1982 Roberta led Australia’s first known trans rights protest, organised by the ATA in Manly. Credit: Paul van Reyk, provided by ALGA.

Since soft launching late last year, the project has been delivering free services to trans and gender diverse clients across Victoria needing specialist help with a range of legal issues. The demand for the service is strong, and it is clear we are only beginning to scratch the surface of the community’s legal needs.

To mark the official launch of the Roberta Perkins Law Project, St Kilda Legal Service and Transgender Victoria are hosting an online event featuring guest speakers and a collection of Perkins’ works, generously provided by the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives (ALGA).

Please join us in celebrating this important initiative and learn how you can help by attending our Zoom launch, Monday June 15, 3:30pm – 5:00pm. To virtually attend, simply register your interest here.

Change Your ID Day – 18 May 2020

Last month the LGBTIQ Legal Service hosted our second annual Change Your ID Day with a record 56 attendees. For the first time ever and in light of pandemic restrictions, the event was hosted live online. The virtual session provided practical information on how trans and gender diverse Victorians could change their name and sex descriptor on legal identification documents.

This year’s session was particularly timely, following new reforms to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act that came into effect 1 May 2020. The new reforms removed barriers for Victorians seeking to change the record of sex on their birth certificate and affirm their gender.

The Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages has received 110 Change of Record of Sex applications since the new reforms commenced. 58 of these applications were received following Change Your ID Day on 18 May. The impact of these reforms on the trans and gender diverse community is life changing, as described by our Legal Service Coordinator, Sam Elkin and trans and gender diverse community member Brooke to ABC News

Coinciding with International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersex discrimination and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), Change Your ID Day plays an integral role in ensuring all members of the trans and gender diverse community feel correctly identified and represented fairly within the state legal system.

Our free 90-minute webinar formed part of Law Week 2020, supported by the Victoria Law Foundation, and was led by Sam Elkin. A panel of legal and community representatives discussed the application process for changing records of sex descriptor on legal identification documents such as Vicroads drivers licenses, Australian passports, Medicare cards and Victorian birth certificates. Attendees heard from Executive Director of Transgender Victoria, Margot Fink; Co-founder of Rainbow Families Victoria, Felicity Marlowe; as well as Kiera Dingle from Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria.

The 2020 event saw a 40% increase in Change of ID applications from the previous year. With increased awareness and funding, we hope to see these numbers continue to rise for years to come. To watch the live stream of the event, click here