The ACT Government has established an inquiry into the legal recognition of transgender and intersex people under territory law through the territory’s Law Reform Advisory Council (LRAC).

“The ACT places a strong level of importance on the human rights of all community members, and this latest reference to the LRAC will investigate if there are any gaps in the legal rights of transsexual and intersex people in the ACT,” ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell said.

Corbell said the Government had worked with LRAC chair, Associate Professor Simon Rice, to establish terms of reference that would result in meaningful examination of ACT laws relating to transgender and intersex people.

“I want to ensure that the views and interests of the community are reflected in this process,” Corbell said. “I would encourage everyone with an interest in human rights to engage with the Council during its work.”

ACT transgender rights group Gender Agenda told the Star Observer it would be making its views known through the inquiry. Executive committee member Peter Hyndal said it was still early days for the process.

“Having said that, I anticipate the inquiry will cover a range of areas — recognising changes of sex, but also broader issues relating to discrimination protection and protection on the basis of gender expression rather than gender identity, which is a much broader category,” Hyndal said.

“The trans and intersex community … is really supportive of this and optimistic about the promise this inquiry holds for change.”

Organisation Intersex International (OII) Australia president Gina Wilson said she would use the inquiry to call for intersex people to be protected under sex discrimination law

“Last year the ACT included ‘sex differences’, which we take to mean differences of sex anatomy in gender identity legislation,” Wilson said.

“Although some intersex people might see their gender identity as intersex, most intersex see themselves as men or women, not something other, but have anatomical differences which more properly fit in sex discrimination legislation.

“We would also ask for some recognition of intersex needs as far as medication and surgeries are concerned and medical intervention into intersex lives.”

Wilson said that was more a federal Government responsibility but the ACT could pass on those issues to their federal counterparts.

Information about the inquiry, including the terms of reference, will be posted on the ACT Department of Justice and Community Safety’s website in coming weeks.

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