THE ACT Government plans to introduce laws later this month that will better recognise transgender and intersex individuals through the creation of a third category of “indeterminate, intersex, unspecified’” for birth certificates.
Alongside changes to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act, Attorney-General Simon Corbell has also flagged government moves to take out the requirement for gender affirmation surgery for people who want to change their gender on their birth certificate.
The proposals come in the wake of the Law Reform Advisory Council’s Beyond the Binary report released earlier this year that listed a number of recommendations after describing the current rules governing the alteration or birth certificates as “inhumane”.
Corbell (pictured) said the changes were a “very important reform” that acknowledged people who do not see themselves in the context of binary sex or gender.
“Right now we have situations where people present as women, for example, and all primary identification documents tell people they are a man,” he said.
“Every time they open a bank account, every time they do something with their tax, employment, every basic thing where they have to present ID it is an intrusive, complex process for something so simple about how they identify.”
Organisation Intersex International (OII) Australia vice president Tony Briffa told the Star Observer that while the proposals were a further step in the right direction, they may not actually go far enough.
“I commend the ACT government for being progressive and for trying to address the issues intersex people have with birth certificates. It is important these changes do not disadvantage anyone and that all people receive recognition,” he said.
“Intersex babies should not carry the burden of having birth certificates that label them as having a sex that is ‘indeterminate, intersex or unspecified’. Most intersex people identify as male or female. If intersex children want to correct their birth certificate to another sex, they should be able to do this once they are able to provide consent.
“Further, the sex categories should not be limited to ‘M’, ‘F’ and ‘X’ because they don’t suit all intersex people. Some intersex people identify as being both male and female which is completely consistent with their natural biology. They want the dignity of being being recognised for who and what they are – ‘M and F.'”
It is expected the changes will be introduced during the Legislative Assembly’s final sitting week for the year in late November.
The Federal Government introduced “X” to designate a third sex on passports in late 2012.