Australia’s human rights body considers third gender recognition

PinkNews Staff Writer December 11, 2008
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The Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission has raised the possibility of the creation of an official intersex status in Australia.

In a discussion paper distributed to trans groups, the federal government’s advisory body on equality issues also argued that people should be able to change their driving licenses and passports without having to undergo gender reassignment treatment.

“The proposal does not go far enough in providing legal status and social spaces by only allowing people to be male, female and intersex,” said Sex and Gender Education Australia spokeswoman Tracie O’Keefe.

She advocates the creation of a fourth gender, reports the Australian Daily Telegraph, “for people who feel like their gender is indefinable or changes from day to day.”

“Recognition of intersex: Persons who cannot or do not identify as either male or female would be able to choose to be identified on their birth certificate and passport as intersex,” the ACHR discussion paper stated.

“A person who cannot or chooses not to undergo surgery would not be automatically ineligible to request a change in their legal sex.”

Following a 2007 Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission report the Australian parliament is in the process of passing a new bill that aims to ensure equal treatment for gay and lesbian couples in Australia.

The Same-Sex Entitlements Bill will remove discrimination against same-sex partners in areas like immigration, taxation, veterans’ pensions and aged care, and follows a bill introduced earlier this year aimed at removing discrimination in superannuation.

Related topics: Australia

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