Saturday, December 13, 2008

Reports of third sex untrue

Message about the Commission's project on the legal recognition of sex in documents and government records

I have received some enquiries about the sex and gender diversity project, in response to a media report that suggests the Commission is secretly circulating a proposal to make intersex a third category for documents and government records.

This is incorrect.

As you will be aware, the Commission's sex and gender diversity project has been examining the legal recognition of sex in documents and government records. As part of this project, the project created an online blog - called Sex Files - in order to discuss some of the issues to do with legal recognition and to involve the sex and gender diverse community in the development of recommendations. This included posting public some initial proposals for reform on the Sex Files blog. We did this because we wanted those involved in the project to provide valuable feedback. The responses we received help to inform the development of a report on legal recognition in documents and government records. The final report is due to be completed and launched early next year.

As indicated by some of the enquiries, the initial proposals for reform put up on the blog included a suggestion for a category of intersex for legal documents. However, as raised with us on the blog, this is not an acceptable proposal for a variety of reasons. As a result the report will not propose a category of intersex for documents but instead proposes to recommend that people be able to choose between male, female or unspecified.

I hope that this explains how we have tried to respond to people's concerns. I have discussed one of our draft recommendations here, in advance of the report, only because I recognise that the misrepresentation in the media may have caused some distress. The full report, including other recommendations, will not be available until the report is published early next year. If you are on the sex and gender diversity mailing list already, you will receive notice of the report when it is finalised.

Thank you for your participation to date.

Graeme Innes AM
Human Rights Commissioner