Recommendations for Legal Recognition of Sex & Gender Identity
At the Health in Difference Conference on 1 May 2010 the Parliamentary Secretary for Social Inclusion, Senator Ursula Stephens, announced formation of a working group to address the recommendations of the Australian Human Rights Commission sex and gender diversity project, 'Sex Files: The legal recognition of sex in documents and government records'. The paper contains 15 recommendations for improving the current system for legally recognizing sex identity. The formation of the Working Group by the Federal Attorney General's Department is, however, on hold during the Federal Election Campaign Find out more
The Federal Attorney General's Department underook to form a working group to address the recommendations of the Australian Human Rights Commission sex and gender diversity project, 'Sex Files: The legal recognition of sex in documents and government records'. The paper contains 15 recommendations for improving the current system for legally recognizing sex identity.
The formation of the working group was announced by Senator Ursula Stephens at the Health in Difference 2010 conference in Sydney on 1 May and it was due to hold its first meeting late July. The working group is, however, now on hold during the Federal Election Campaign. While the Labor Party have confirmed their commitment to the working group should they be relected, the Coalition failed to make such assurances in their response to the National LGBT Health Alliance's Federal Election Survey.
The Sex and Gender Diversity project's focus on documentation arose after a majority of responses to the project’s initial issues paper revealed that the recording and proof of sex and/or gender in official documents and government records was a major human rights issue to sex and gender diverse people. Subsequent investigation found that it was fraught with inconsistencies that caused additional frustration and distress.
The paper was officially launched at Parliament House on 17 March 2009. Human Rights Commissioner, Graeme Innes said "The appalling thing about this situation over sex and gender identity in documentation and records is the disruption it causes in the life of the person concerned by putting a spotlight on what in many cases is a very private matter in an otherwise completely ordinary life and, in others, a life that is lived without usually having to make such frustrating and embarrassing justifications."
The research and consultation process included public meetings in Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney and the use of a blog, where sex and gender diverse people could anonymously share their thoughts and experiences
The National LGBT Health Alliance welcomed the formation of a working group to progress the recommendations of the "sex files" paper and calls on the Australian Government to address work with trans and intersex people to create a fairer and less complicated identification system that recognises sex and gender diversity. It calls on Government to ensure that it consults effectively with trans and intersex people to ensure that measures agreed on do actually addressing their needs.
Download the Sex Files paper
Download the Alliance media release about the Attorney General's Working Group