Submission on government recognition of sex and gender

Last month, the federal government published draft guidelines on sex and gender recognition for public consultation.

Download our full submission here

The document represents a major shift in the recognition of the gender identities and sex of intersex people, along with the recognition of trans and gender diverse people.

We welcome the document, and the decision to make documentation consistent across government. We broadly support the guidelines, with a few concerns related to travel safety, and towards improving clarity, consistency and readability.

Our recommendations

  • Guidelines on recognition of gender identity and intersex status: Title the guidelines “Guidelines on recognition of gender identity and intersex status”.
  • Personal titles should be optional: Personal titles should be voluntary, not obligatory. The use of a freeform text field for an optional title is desirable.
  • Overseas travel: Passports should be available with an M or F sex descriptor for people who otherwise have documentation reflecting a non-binary gender.
  • Timescale: Introduction on a 1.5 year timescale for digital data systems.
  • Legislative or regulatory footing: It would be advantageous for the Government Guidelines on Gender to be placed on a legislative or regulatory footing. The Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Bill 2013, currently before parliament, provides an opportunity to achieve this.
  • Adoption by other Australian governments: The guidelines should be put forward for adoption by the Council of Australian Governments.
  • “Sex and/or gender diverse”: We recommend the replacement of the term “sex and/or gender diverse” throughout with the term “intersex, and trans and gender diverse”, or “intersex, or trans and gender diverse”, as appropriate.
  • Appendix A: The form, as amended, should replace the existing template in use by DFAT.

Download our submission

Download our submission

More information

  • The draft guidelines.
  • The deadline for submissions is 19 April.
  • The guidelines, when finalised, are scheduled to come into effect on 1 July 2013.
  • The OII Australia submission was written by our secretary, Morgan Carpenter.