Norrie mAy-welby has complained to the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) after NSW Births, Deaths and Marriages cancelled the “sex not specified” certificate it provided in February.
Norrie received the certificate the day before the Mardi Gras parade and the story was picked up by news services around the globe when norrie went public last week.
But norrie received a phone call from Registrar Greg Curry on Tuesday last week, saying the certificate would be cancelled.
Norrie claims Curry said the backflip was a result of the Registry being pressured by the NSW Attorney General’s office.
However, Curry denies this, saying, “At no time did the registrar state or imply that the Attorney General or anyone else had pressured him to cancel the certificate”.
A Births, Deaths and Marriages spokeswoman told Sydney Star Observer that media interest in the case had not affected its decision.
Births, Deaths and Marriages would not confirm if it had received legal advice prior to issuing the certificate, but said subsequent advice determined it was unable to provide documents with anything other than “male” or “female” on them.
Norrie lodged the AHRC complaint last Thursday at its Sydney headquarters, accompanied by supporters and NSW Greens leader Lee Rhiannon.
Rhiannon later questioned Attorney General John Hatzistergos in Parliament — calling on him to release any legal advice given and to change the law in line with the Commission’s 2009 recommendation that a person over 18 years of age be able to choose an unspecified sex for legal purposes.
“This issue was ventilated in the media and a number of inquiries were made with my office,” Hatzistergos said in response.
“The Director General of my department discussed the matter with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages and a decision was reached for legal advice to be obtained.
“I did not speak to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. At no time did I or … anyone in my office make any direction to the registrar in relation to the decision that he took.”
Sex And Gender Education’s Dr Tracie O’Keefe said they would continue to support norrie’s obtaining a “sex not specified” legal identity through the courts.
The Registry has stopped short of demanding norrie return the certificate and recently issued norrie a change of name certificate with “sex not stated” on it.
Certificates marked “sex not stated” are provided to transsexuals who are undertaking a change of sex process — which norrie is not.
As a result, norrie has been left in limbo as to what norrie’s legal sex status is.
In the meantime, norrie’s case has drawn support from a surprising quarter. Family First NSW’s Dr Gordon Moyes MLC, told Sydney Star Observer, “A person like norrie who has undergone sexual alignment surgery should, as an adult, be allowed the choice of no gender.”