Thursday 4 July 2013

Protections for intersex, trans and gender diverse people in Australia gained additional support recently with the release of Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender by the Australian Government.

“In terms of personal records held by Australian Government departments and agencies, the guidelines recognise that individuals may identify and be recognised within the community as a gender other than the sex they were assigned at birth or during infancy,” Commission President, Professor Gillian Triggs, said. “More pointedly, they help recognise that people may be intersex or who do not identity as either male or female by including the option to identify as X or M or F.”

Professor Triggs said, “The recognition that, for some in our community, sex and gender identity is not simply a matter of male or female is an extremely important step that is profoundly significant for intersex, trans and gender diverse people.”

“Practically, these guidelines will make a real difference in the lives of transgender, intersex and gender diverse people because they make it easier for them to establish or change their sex or gender in Australian Government records.”

“The combination of these guidelines and the passing of the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Bill by Parliament last week make for a very encouraging development,” she said.

The guidelines have been released in response to recommendations in the Commission’s 2009 Sex Files: The legal recognition of sex in documents and government records report.

“The Commission’s Sex Files consultation revealed that there are significant limitations in the way that official documents and government records recognise and record sex and gender,” Professor Triggs said. “It recommended that the Australian Government should develop national guidelines concerning the collection of sex and gender information from individuals.”

She said the new guidelines were significant because they have not only provided a framework for a fairer and more accessible way for people to be recognised by the Government as the sex or gender they live.

The Guidelines are available at

The Sex Files report is available on the Commission website at