Response to the ACT government on ‘Beyond the Binary’

On 19 March, the government of the Australian Capital Territory published its response to “Beyond the Binary”, a report on legal recognition of “Sex and gender diversity” in the Territory. This is our formal reply to the government response.

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We made a formal response to “Beyond the Binary” in July 2012. Nevertheless, the reports appear to have been drafted without resppnse to input by intersex organisations. We have serious and fundamental concerns with “Beyond the Binary”, and the response to it, and we urgently hope that these concerns will be taken into account.

Our reply focuses on several issues:

  • Surgical interventions on infants must cease first
  • Sex and gender are different
  • Intersex is not a gender identityIntersex is not a third sex, or a “sex identity”
  • “Sex and Gender Diversity” is not respectful to intersex people
  • Proposed federal guidelines on gender recognition

Download the report

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  1. Infants must be assigned to one or other binary sex-of-rearing.
  2. Assignments must be easily mutable, including by the child when Gillick competency
    can be established. Certification requirements should match those for passports.
  3. Concomitant with the government’s commitment to no longer require sexual
    reassignment surgery, infant sex assignments must not be regarded as necessitating surgical or hormonal intervention. Guidelines should be established to prevent surgery for “psychosocial” purposes. Criminal sanctions should be applied where such surgeries are carried out.
  4. The birth of an intersex infant must be documented and reported, along with data on the binary assignment of sex-of-rearing. Data on along with intersex stillborn births and terminations must also be reported.
  5. We support the availability of an X or “unspecified” option on a birth certificate where chosen by an adult.
  6. The government should use the term ‘intersex’ to refer to intersex people, and not conflate intersex with gender diversity issues.
  7. Guidelines for the recognition of adults’ genders must match federal proposals.

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