Archive for the 'intersex' Category

Kenya: Call for legal recognition of intersex people

July 16, 2010

Flag of the Republic of KenyaAs if to highlight that it’s not only trans women in the UK who face difficulties in obtaining recognition of differences between their lived experience and legal status, Coastweek Kenya (and others) carries a report about an intersex man, awaiting a death sentence, who is pursuing an appeal to a Constitutional Court to create a law that will accommodate intersex people.

Richard Muasya – through his lawyer John Chingiti – has urged the court to enact appropriate legislation. Mr Chingiti said the court has jurisdiction to deal with the issue raised by his client’s claim that, as an intersex man, he does not receive any legal recognition.

He submitted that the law as it is, discriminates people of his gender especially when one is applying for documents such as birth certificates, an Identity card and a passport.

“This are vital documents and the petitioner is unable to achieve them because he is an intersex,” he argued.

Chingiti argued that since his clients condition is a divine event, the court should not sit and watch as he and others who have similar status being subjected to a lot of humiliation, torture, fear and mockery from people who do it deliberately or out of ignorance.

“We should protect the petitioner and the likes of the petitioner by recognizing them legally,” he added.

I’m not entirely sure that I agree with Mr Chingiti’s belief that intersex is “a divine event“; I think OII UK sums it up well enough in its FAQ:

An intersexed person is an individual whose internal and/or external sexual morphology has characteristics not specific to just one of the official sexes, but rather a combination of what is considered “normal” for “female” or “male”.

Be that as it may, I certainly can’t argue with this:

[…] the court should not sit and watch as [Mr Muasya] and others who have similar status being subjected to a lot of humiliation, torture, fear and mockery from people who do it deliberately or out of ignorance.

“We should protect the petitioner and the likes of the petitioner by recognizing them legally,” he added.

The question of the “legalization of a third gender” is often contentious – my view is that it Others by default: I’m not convinced that “male, female and intersex” is a particularly meaningful range of categories. I would say that it’s entirely possible to be male and intersex, or female and intersex – or even simply intersex without need of any binary gender markers.

However, the fundamental issue – as is so often the case – is that an intersex person is being denied the basic human rights which others take for granted. In this case, even though Mr Muasya is reported as being “born with both male and female genital organs, but goes about as a man” – and regardless of which intersex variation that might refer to – it is a breach of his human rights for him to have been subjected to discrimination, prejudice and harassment simply because he’s intersex.

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IAAF: Woman athlete is a woman

July 6, 2010

At last, eleven months later, it seems that the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) has finally roused itself from its lethargy and clarified what it believes the status of Caster Semenya to be:

Caster Semenya may compete

Monte-Carlo – The process initiated in 2009 in the case of Caster Semenya (RSA) has now been completed.

The IAAF accepts the conclusion of a panel of medical experts that she can compete with immediate effect.

Please note that the medical details of the case remain confidential and the IAAF will make no further comment on the matter. [Via IAAF]

And that’s all the IAAF has to say about it? No apology to Ms Semenya for its discriminatory and sexist behaviour; its flagrant breaches of her human rights; its disturbing attempts to set itself up as arbiter and enforcer of a socially constructed gender binary?

The IAAF should be ashamed of themselves; their (in)actions diminish and demean all of us, and are entirely unforgivable when we consider the huge personal cost to Caster Semenya, whose grace and dignity is an example from which the IAAF would do well to learn.

As for the mass media’s rabid prurience, its global invasion of her privacy, its sexist assumptions, its wholesale mistreatment of Ms Semenya merely to sell a few more newspapers – all of these actions deserve nothing but the deepest contempt.

Let’s hope that the equally out-of-touch International Olympic Committee (IOC) now drops its own alarmingly befuddled plans to “advise” intersex athletes to have surgery before they’ll be allowed to compete. [Via]

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IAAF: it used to be indecisive but now it’s not so sure

June 29, 2010

Via South Africa’s The Citizen, it seems that the IAAF is likely to miss its next self-imposed deadline for confirming Caster Semenya’s competition status.

The IAAF said it would reach a decision by the end of June, but spokesman Nick Davies said yesterday it still had to have an internal meeting about the case.

Speaking from his office in Switzerland, Davies said a statement would be released as soon as the outcome of gender verification tests were discussed.

[…]

While many waited on June 10 for the outcome of the “Caster Semenya dispute”, a press conference, hoped to reveal if she would compete again, was cancelled at the last minute.

Her lawyer, Greg Nott, said at the time that Sports Minister Makhenkesi Stofile had cancelled the press conference as the IAAF exco had not received a formal briefing on the matter from the medical team.

Frankly, this amount of stonewalling by the international governing body for athletics is inexcusable. Every deadline it breaks serves only to prolong its attack on a woman athlete who happens not to conform to stereotypical female gender norms.

It’s time for the IAAF to stop sitting on the fence and start making amends for the human rights abuses it has been inflicting on Ms Semenya for nearly a year.

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We need to talk about IGM…

June 18, 2010

A couple of days ago, Alice Dreger and Ellen K. Feder jointly posted a brief article (Bad Vibrations) on the Bioethics Forum of the Hastings Center’s website.

The piece picked up on an earlier article, Nerve Sparing Ventral Clitoroplasty: Analysis of Clitoral Sensitivity and ViabilityPDF here – published in 2007 by Jennifer Yang (a pediatric urologist), Diane Felsen (a pharmacologist) and Dix P. Poppas, M.D in The Journal of Urology.

Dreger and Feder’s piece focuses attention on Dr Poppas, a pediatric urologist at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Medical College of Cornell University whose “special interest in genital reconstruction [and] surgical aspects of disorders of sexual development” has apparently led him to carry out a program of research on 51 girls aged between 4 months and 24 years old (mean age ± SD 4.6 ± 6.8 years) in which he performed nerve sparing ventral clitoroplasty, which included “followup testing of clitoral viability and sensation after clitoroplasty“.

The followup tests involved “Poppas stimulating the girls’ clitorises with vibrators while the girls, aged six and older, are conscious” are described in Dreger and Feder’s article as follows:

At annual visits after the surgery, while a parent watches, Poppas touches the daughter’s surgically shortened clitoris with a cotton-tip applicator and/or with a “vibratory device,” and the girl is asked to report to Poppas how strongly she feels him touching her clitoris. Using the vibrator, he also touches her on her inner thigh, her labia minora, and the introitus of her vagina, asking her to report, on a scale of 0 (no sensation) to 5 (maximum), how strongly she feels the touch. Yang, Felsen and Poppas also report a “capillary perfusion testing,” which means a physician or nurse pushes a finger nail on the girl’s clitoris to see if the blood goes away and comes back, a sign of healthy tissue.

Dreger and Feder’s article has received widespread coverage online and elsewhere, with a piece by Dan Savage at The Stranger (Female Genital Mutilation at Cornell University) in particular being linked widely. (Dreger has also written a further piece – Can You Hear Us Now? – at Psychology Today)

Whilst the followup procedures of Yang, Felsen and Poppas are undeniably abusive and intrusive, I can’t help feeling that the original enforced genital mutilation carried out on the 51 research subjects is quite likely illegal as none of the subjects’ health seems to have been at risk in any life-threatening way.

In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed into law Criminalization of Female Genital Mutilation Act, which made it a crime to circumcise, excise, or infibulate the whole or any part of the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of another person who has not attained the age of 18 years unless the operation is “necessary to the health of the person on whom it is performed.” [Via]

On this basis alone, it’s hard to see how the actions of Yang, Felsen and Poppas could even be considered legal, let alone ethical. It’s also worth noting that their research seems to have been carried out some 10 years after the legislation was enacted and it is only now, another 4 years later, that the knowledge of this ‘research project’ has moved into the mainstream public domain.

All this, of course, assumes that the children concerned were selected for no other reason than that they were available to Yang, Felsen and Poppas – but having looked more closely at the original research document, I’m beginning to wonder if these are, in fact, intersex children. Consider: the report states that the subjects had enlarged clitorises, and that this anatomical variation “is often a prominent manifestation of virilizing congenital adrenal hyperplasia and other disorders of sexual development”.

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) is an endocrine disorder in which the adrenal glands produce abnormally high levels of virilising hormones and as such is already known to the medical profession as an intersex variation – or “disorder of sexual development”, the preferred pathologising and stigmatising term which, although preferred by the medical profession (and which Dreger was – is? – a proponent of), is objected to by some intersex activists.

It seems increasingly likely to me that, not only are we talking about a research project on intersex children, but also that that fact is being suppressed in Dreger and Feder’s article, even though it seems clear from the original report that this is exactly the situation. Which – if I’m correct in my interpretation – makes me wonder why Dreger and Feder chose not to highlight it too, and instead of focusing only on the postoperative experimentation. For what it’s worth, Alice Dreger has previously been known for her controversial views on issues of concern to both the intersex community (see this piece at OII) and the trans community (see this piece at TS Roadmap) but I can’t think what reason she might have for wanting to erase the fact that these were intersex children.

Equally, I can think of no good reason why Ellen Feder would want to do that either; she was one of the co-authors of the recent letter of concern from bioethicists, which sought an end to the off-label administration of dexamethasone (a prescription medication) to pregnant women who may give birth to girls with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH).

Finally, I’d really like to know why Alice Dreger and Ellen Feder have waited until now to spotlight this research document which, as I pointed out above, was first published in 2007.

I have to say that I’m completely mystified why the writers of any article detailing such shocking treatment and human rights abuses against intersex children should feel it necessary to leave out the salient fact that the subjects of the research are intersex. But one thing is clear: if we, as a society, are going to condone the treatment of intersex people like worthless lab rats and then deliberately airbrush them out of high-profile news stories about the injustices they’ve suffered, then how are we ever going to be able to start making amends for the human rights abuses inflicted against them in the name of medical science?

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ETA, June 19:

Of these patients 46 (90%) were genetic females with congenital adrenal hyperplasia, 3 (6%) were 46 XY who had undergone sex reassignment surgeries and 2 (4%) were 46 XX disorder of sexual development.

That’s from the report itself – PDF here – and not the more widely publicised abstract – link here – even though the abstract also makes it clear that intersex people were subjects in this almost eugenicist experimentation.

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ETA update, June 19: I’ve been looking at some of the trackbacks this post has received from other blogs and have seen suggestions in a couple of those links that some of the people experimented on were/are trans. At first glance, this is the obvious conclusion to draw from this phrase in the Poppas report – “[…] 3 (6%) were 46 XY who had undergone sex reassignment surgeries […]” – but I believe that it may well be an erroneous conclusion.

I don’t deny that some intersex people are trans and I don’t deny that some trans people are intersex. And I’m well aware that for some transsexual people, SRS is sometimes (though not always) one of the treatments we undergo to ease our gender dissonance (where our brains were expecting a body with a genital configuration different from that with which we were born).

However, there is also an intersex variation known as Gonadal Dysgenesis, which may manifest in various ways, and a number of medical categories have been devised to cover those variations: Complete Gonadal Dysgenesis, Mixed Gonadal Dysgenesis and Swyer Syndrome.

From the (admittedly limited) research I’ve done, I’m firmly of the opinion that the 3 individuals concerned are more likely to have one of the gonadal dysgenesis variations, than they are to be transsexual. In the context of gonadal dysgenesis, the meaning of the term sex reassignment surgeries has far less to do with the procedures carried out – with informed consent – on some transsexual people, than it does to the enforced normalisation imposed on intersex people by means of non-consensual “corrective” surgeries.

As far as I’m concerned, this is an exclusively intersex issue, and any suggestion that some of the research subjects are transsexual – although understandable – is not only incorrect, but also risks recentering the discussion in an unhelpful and distracting way.

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ETA, June 23: From The Toronto Star:

Asked by the Star why it took nearly three years for anybody to pick up on Poppas’ testing techniques, Dreger said Monday that, “You have to kind of know the code you’re reading to understand what he’s describing.”

Orly? Well, how about this?

Enlargement of the clitoris is often a prominent manifestation of virilizing congenital adrenal hyperplasia… We present 51 consecutive cases of […] clitoroplasty performed by a single surgeon… Postoperative evaluation […] included […] examination and […] sensory testing and vibratory sensory testing.

[Via]

Hmm. That doesn’t seem too hard to understand to me, but as I said in my original post, it’s the other questions which I’d like to hear the answers to.

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Indonesia: Trial continues of XXY man for being an XXY man

June 9, 2010

I wrote recently about Alterina Hofan, a chromosomally atypical (47,XXY) man who stands accused of falsifying his identity. The prosecution alleges that Alterina is a female who swapped gender status to male in 2006, while the defence claims he has always been a man but that his genitalia developed late because of Klinefelter’s syndrome.

Alterina identifies himself as a man and, after years of medical intervention and surgery, married Jane Hadipoespito. However, Jane’s parents denounced the marriage and filed this lawsuit against Alterina for fraud because his birth certificate, ID and family cards stated that he was a woman.

Via The Jakarta Post, I read that the trial continued on Monday with the judge collecting statements from the prosecutors’ witnesses, including government officials who:

[…] confirmed they received necessary documents, including birth certificate, from Alterina in 2007, as part of requirements to process the issuance of a family card.

“The birth certificate needed to make the family card stating Alterina was a male. Nothing was wrong,” one witness said.

Another of Alterina’s lawyers, Raymond Ratu Taga, said his client had followed every procedure to change his sex status to male.

“With the help of his mother, Alterina made the sex-status change on Dec. 18, 2006 in Jayapura, Papua, as he was born there,” he said, adding his client had never had any sex change surgery.

[…]

I imagine that Alterina could well do without the interjections from Benny Susetyo, secretary to the Indonesian Bishops’ Council (KWI), who is quoted (again, in The Jakarta Post) as follows:

“The Catholic Church bans marriage between people of the same sex”

Which is about the degree of intelligence and compassion I’ve come to expect from the Catholic Church; Mr Susetyo’s demonstration of his complete lack of understanding of intersex variations would be merely embarrassing were it not for the fact that, for whatever reason, the views espoused by his Church appear to carry some weight within the Republic of Indonesia, a pluralist country with a majority Muslim population.

Benny said the health problem could not justify the change in sex status. “Her [sic] DNA and genetics prove she [sic] is female, therefore she [sic] can be medically cured,” the priest said.

No, Mr Susetyo, his DNA and genetics prove that he is a 47XXY man and not that he is female. As I said last time:

It’s really quite frightening that non-intersex people have the power to ignore fundamental human rights in pursuit of the violent imposition of a socially constructed gender binary.

The trial continues and, notwithstanding the dangerously medieval attitudes of people like Mr Susetyo, I hope Alterina receives a just and fair treatment which respects his human right to bodily autonomy.

Alterina Hofan (Image via The Jakarta Globe)

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XXY man imprisoned for being an XXY man

May 14, 2010

People with a 47,XXY chromosomal atypicality (also known simply as XXY, or Klinefelter’s Syndrome) often find themselves caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place. The karyotype and its manifestations may not be considered (by some) to be an intersex variation, or it may be assumed that XXY refers only to ‘XY men’ with an extra X chromosome with no allowance made for the possibility that there may be ‘XX women’ who have an extra Y chromosome.

As I wrote in my recent post about KS Awareness Week:

That there is no clear agreement about whether or not KS is an intersex variation is a useful reminder that the boundaries of the dominant sex and gender binaries are not as easily defined as many people would like. It once again highlights that enforced normalisation (XXY people are often “treated” by means of breast surgery and long-term testosterone treatment) is nothing more or less than the policing of socially constructed boundaries by medical professionals in order to uphold cultural stereotypes of what is meant by male and female.

Alterina Hofan of Jakarta is currently having to navigate these complex and difficult circumstances, to the point of being subjected to the full force of the law as a result of his wife’s parents’ alleging document fraud – even though the actions of the authorities seem to be in breach of Alterina’s human rights. Via The Jakarta Post:

Alterina suffers Klinefelter’s syndrome, a rare case where a male has an extra X chromosome that makes him look more like a woman.

After years of operations, Alterina has documented himself as a man and even married Jane Hadipoespito.

The problem arose when Jane’s parents denounced the marriage, filing a lawsuit against Alterina for document fraud because he previously declared he was a woman in his identity cards.

Police then took Alterina to prison, ignoring the latest report from a doctor that confirmed he was a man.

The police decided to take Alterina to the Pondok Bambu women’s penitentiary in East Jakarta, after being transferred between a number of men’s and women’s penitentiaries.

But because of his apparent male physical features, the police separate Alterina from other inmates and place him in a special room in the penitentiary.

Alterina has the backing of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), which views the case as an example of the state’s failure to protect Alterina’s rights. Josep Adi Prasetyo of Komnas HAM cites an international convention on civil and political rights that guarantees people’s rights of their identity and which was ratified by the Indonesian parliament in 2005.

“He has the right to say he is a man”, Josep said after visiting Alterina on Wednesday, adding an independent medical practitioner was needed in the case.

He also denounced the police’s decision to carry out a forced medical check on Alterina and undermine previous reports from the doctor declaring Alterina a man.

The police’s medical check-up show the opposite result, saying Alterina is a woman.

It’s really quite frightening that non-intersex people have the power to ignore fundamental human rights in pursuit of the violent imposition of a socially constructed gender binary. In addition, the blinkered ignorance of Alterina’s in-laws (and the authorities) of the ways in which intersex people may not easily be forced into one of two narrow categories is highlighted by Alterina’s wife Jane who has said that she doesn’t really care that Alterina’s documents don’t match his identity.

“All I want is for my husband to be freed as soon as possible,” she said.

Alterina’s first trial hearing is scheduled for Monday and I hope he at last receives a just and fair treatment which respects his human right to bodily autonomy.

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Five Myths that Hurt Intersex People

May 12, 2010

Intersex Roadshow logo and link to post "Five Myths that Hurt Intersex People"Luminis, who blogs at The Intersex Roadshow, has written a very informative post featuring an in-depth deconstruction of five all-too-common misconceptions about intersex variations and intersex people.

Recommended reading, definitely – and here’s the link:

  • Myth 1: Intersex people all have intermediate genitalia
  • Myth 2: Intersex conditions are always diagnosed in infancy
  • Myth 3: All infant sex-assignment surgery is aimed at creating “female” genitalia
  • Myth 4: Intersex people should be genderqueer
  • Myth 5: “Real” intersex people are not genderqueer

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OII Position Statement on Genital Cutting

March 28, 2010

Organisation Intersex International (OII) has posted a Position Statement on Genital Cutting. Although much attention has been focused on female genital cutting (FGC), or female genital mutilation (FGM) – defined by the Female Genital Cutting Education and Networking Project as “any practice which includes the removal or the alteration of the female genitalia” – it’s rare to see any recognition of the enforced surgical normalisation procedures carried out on genitally ambiguous intersex people, and I hope the OII’s statement will go some way towards raising awareness of this particular human rights breach.

From the late 1950’s onwards, starting in the USA, intersex infants and children were increasingly subject to cosmetic surgeries intended to ensure that their genital appearance and internal gonads conformed to that usually expected for their assigned gender. This also tended to entail hormone treatments aimed at conforming them to those associated with being “male” or “female.”

[…]

Cosmetic surgery on intersex genitals appears to harm intersex infants, children, and even adults, yet it still persists. As with male circumcision, it is often driven by parental desire to provide their children with bodies that conform to certain beliefs about how genitals should be. Also, the presumption that atypical sex anatomy will result in atypical sexual orientation and/or gender identity, homophobia and a fear of atypical gender presentation are seen by some intersex people as the motivation driving these surgeries. In many societies today, gender expression and sexual orientation are seen as a human right, and this is recognised by the UN. Performing unnecessary surgeries on infants and children in order to influence adult sexual orientation and/or gender identity outcomes should be seen as a human rights abuse. There is no evidence that sexual orientation or gender identity are affected by genital surgery one way or the other.

The OII’s Position Statement seeks recognition that all humans have the right to autonomy over their own bodies. It continues:

Because infants and children are too young to assert their autonomy, they should not be subjected to unnecessary surgeries which may irrevocably harm them, and which they may not have chosen as adults. We recognise that cases requiring medical treatment for the maintenance of health or preservation of life should be managed as with any other situation where a child needs treatment.

However, it’s worth remembering that there are other factors to be considered in any discussion of enforced surgical procedures carried out on intersex people. Assuming that genital cutting can be avoided until a child can participate in a decision making process which includes education, communication and counselling, then it is to be hoped that intersex people may at last attain the bodily autonomy too often denied them by medical professionals in order to impose cultural stereotypes of what is meant by male and female.

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UK: National newspaper publishes unexpectedly reasonable report about intersex

March 21, 2010

Yesterday (20 March 2010), on the last day of KS Awareness Week, the journalist Colette Bernhardt wrote about intersex in The Independent. Of course there is inappropriate terminology (“third sex”, “hermaphrodite”, “intersexed”, etc), and of course there is a lot of emphasis on chromosomes and gender, but despite its flaws it comes across overall as an unusually balanced article.

As a useful contrast to the usual generalisations about intersex, there are a few paragraphs about – and quotes from – people with specific intersex variations: Jay Hayes-Light (5-alpha reductase deficiency), Alexandra Tovey (Partial Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome) and Adele Addams (Klinefelter’s Syndrome).

I was particularly interested to see that the article included some words about Sarah Leaver who, although she hasn’t been medically diagnosed as being intersex, did discover from her medical records “that an operation she’d had as a toddler in 1977 to remove a ‘hernia’ had in fact been to remove a male gonad” and now looks forward to a time “when intersexed [sic] people are no longer viewed with disdain or pity, and the world doesn’t cling so much to ‘male’ and ‘female'”. Amen to that…

As the writer and psychotherapist Amy Bloom sums up: “Not monsters, nor marvels, nor battering rams for gender theory, people born intersexed [sic] have given the rest of the world an opportunity to think more about the odd significance we give to gender, about the elusive nature of truth, about the understandable, sometimes dangerous human yearning for simplicity – and we might, in return offer them medical care only when they need it, and a little common sense and civilised embrace when they don’t.”

All in all, an unexpectedly reasonable article worth taking the time to read – although why commenters felt it necessary to derail into a completely irrelevant discussion about “Christian bigotry” remains beyond my comprehension.

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ETA, Sunday 28 March 2010: Last night, I went along to see the play Memoirs of a Hermaphrodite at the Oval House Theatre (PDF of pages from OHT website) – no spoilers here, just to say this dramatisation of the memoirs of Herculine Adélaîde Barbin is well worth seeing if you get the chance.

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Update: ‘Sex Not Specified’ status revoked

March 19, 2010

Barely a week after the news of the granting of a ‘Sex Not Specified’ Recognised Details Certificate in place of a birth certificate to norrie mAy-Welby, SAGE Australia and others are reporting that:

The Attorney General of NSW has pressured the NSW registery of Births, Deaths and Marriages to revoke the Sex Not Specifed status of Norrie May Welby. The inhumane actions and total lack of understanding by the Attorney General in this matter has led to the lodgement of an offical complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission under the 1984 Sex Discrimination Act. [Via]

Both Norrie and SAGE issued statements yesterday, 18 March 2010, at a press conference held at the Offices of the Australian Human Rights Commission where a complaint was lodged against the NSW Attorney General’s Office for sex discrimination under the 1984 Sex Discrimination Act. (Direct link to PDF copy of the statements here).

From norrie’s statement:

I am devastated by the news. It is a hideously humiliating position to find myself in and makes a mockery of my human rights that I feel have been completely violated by the Attorney General’s Office.

[…]

I am being discriminated against because my sex is not the same as the average male or female but I am still a human being and entitled to protection under the law.

My complaint also cites breaches of Articles 1 and 2 of the United Nation’s Charter of human Rights of which Australia is a signatory. My right to socially differentiate myself is being interfered with by the state. Also I am being harassed by the Rudd Government because of my sex. I will continue to fight for my right through the courts to identify myself in society as the person I truly am ‘Sex Not specified’

Tracie O’Keefe’s statement for SAGE suggests that this is nothing other than “a cruel, viciously and politically motivated attack on [norrie’s] identity by the Attorney General to woo right-wing voters in a year when the Rudd Government proposes to fight an election” and adds:

In 2009 the Australian Human Rights Commission released its report on the legal disadvantages of sex and/or gender diverse people in Australian society – The Sex Files – and made recommendations for changes in government policy and laws. The government has done very little to implement these changes and still sex and/or gender diverse people are often stuck in a legal disadvantaged situation that would not apply to any other sector of society.

In the report the AHRC recommended that people like Norrie be allowed to have identities that do not specify their sex/or gender. However it seems the Attorney General has dismissed these recommendations and human rights are way down his list of priorities, far below appeasing right-wing Labor party supporters. This is a scandalous abuse of power.

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(Cross-posted at Questioning Transphobia)

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