From 1 August 2013 it is unlawful to discriminate against a person on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status under federal law. Same-sex couples are now also protected from discrimination under the definition of ‘marital or relationship status’. The Commission will be able to accept complaints alleging discrimination on the new grounds that occurred on or after this date. The Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Bill Act 2013 (Cth) amended the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) to introduce these changes. The Commission has outlined information on 'What is Changing?'.
Equality and freedom from discrimination are fundamental human rights that belong to all people, irrespective of sexual orientation, gender identity or because they are intersex.
However, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, gender diverse and intersex (LGBTI) people in Australia can experience discrimination, harassment and hostility in many areas of everyday life.
This can include discrimination and bullying in places of work and study, difficulties accessing appropriate health and aged care services and community attitudes that can lead to harassment and violence.
Trans, gender diverse and intersex people can also face barriers getting legal recognition of their sex in official documents and government records.
The Commission has undertaken a number of major projects to identify and build community awareness around the human rights issues faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people:
- Resilient Individuals: Sexual Orientation Gender Identity & Intersex Rights Report (2015)
- Addressing sexual orientation and sex and/or gender identity discrimination (2011)
- Sex Files: The legal recognition of sex in documents and government records (2009).
- Same-Sex: Same Entitlements Inquiry (2007)
We have also advocated for stronger federal laws that protect people from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status.
The Commission recognises that terminology can have a profound impact on a person’s identity, self-worth and inherent dignity. The use of inclusive and acceptable terminology empowers individuals and enables visibility of important issues.
Find out how you can get involved in other parts of the Commission’s work and help make human rights a reality for everyone, everywhere, everyday.
You can subscribe to the Commission's mailing list to receive information about sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex human rights.