Australia has announced new guidelines to recognize the gender category ‘intersex’ on official documents.
Under the new system, which will come into effect from July 1, individuals will not be required to have undergone sex reassignment surgery or hormone therapy to select the new category.
Since 2011 Australian nationals who were biologically not entirely male or female, have been able to select ‘X’ as a gender category on their passports.
Transgender people have been able to pick whether they are male or female providing their choice is supported by a doctor.
The changes mean people will now have the option to select M (male), F (female) or X (Indeterminate/Intersex/Unspecified).
It follows a recommendation by the Australian Human Rights Commission in 2009 for the government to consider setting out guidelines for the collection of sex and gender information.
According to Australia’s Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus the new guidelines will make it easier for people to establish or change their sex or gender in personal records held by federal government departments and agencies.
He said: ‘We recognize individuals may identify, and be recognized within the community, as a gender other than the gender they were assigned at birth or during infancy, or as an indeterminate gender.‘This should be recognized and reflected in their personal records held by departments and agencies.’
If an Australian wants to change the gender entry on their personal record, the government will now accept a statement from their doctor or psychologist, a valid Australian passport or a state or territory birth certificate or other document which shows their preferred status.
Mr Dreyfus said:’Transgender and intersex people in Australia face many issues trying to ensure the gender status on their personal records matches the gender they live and how they are recognized by the community.
‘These guidelines will bring about a practical improvement in the everyday lives of transgender, intersex and gender diverse people.’