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Similarly, snow can only make things cold because it is its nature to be cold. Experience shows that if I am cold and thirsty, my desires for warmth and drink.

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Phone: Fax: Appointments: Media Calls: Program in Human Sexuality. Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. Medical School. It assesses the experience of distress related to sex assigned at birth and "affirmed" gender which refers to the gender that one feels most accurately represents one's gender identity.


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In keeping with the lifespan approach, this measure could be given to both adolescents and adults to track progress over time. This measure quantifies positive, negative, and neutral behaviors in the family context. Legislation should outline what documents are needed to support the request for a change in legal sex under the proposed reforms. The Commission recommends that the following documents should be adequate to support an application for a change in legal sex:. If a person is unable to present medical evidence there should be discretion for the decision-maker to consider any other relevant information concerning the sex identity of a person.

For example, a statutory declaration from a community leader confirming the sex identity of the person could be submitted as relevant information. Many of the difficulties faced by children and young people in gaining appropriate documentation are because they have not had surgery. Whilst some of those children and young people may have surgery in the future, some will not. The Commission therefore recommends that the effect of any reform on children and young people must be taken into account from their particular perspective and situation.

The Commission recommends that a person over the age of 18 years should be able to choose to be noted as something other than male or female.

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This would mean that the definition of sex in relevant legislation, policies, guidelines and forms would need to include male, female or unspecified. Some people cannot or do not identify as either male or female. However, as outlined in section 7. Consequently, it is important to consider how to expand the options for sex identity to include all people who are sex and gender diverse. There are already some documents where sex identity can be noted as something other than male or female.

For example, this is the case with some birth certificates and passports as outlined in section 9. However, a notation of something other than male or female is usually only permitted in limited circumstances. While some government agencies have clear information on websites, in other cases it is difficult to access. The complexities, and inconsistencies, of the system mean that it is difficult for an individual to be aware of all the requirements.

As discussed in section 9. To reveal past information about a previous identity undermines the point of legal recognition. The use of empowering, consistent and inclusive terminology is vital for any reform to the legal recognition of sex.

The Commission consulted broadly with the sex and gender diverse community in relation to terminology. For more information, see section 4. The Commission recommends that the terminology used in laws and processes for the legal recognition of sex should:. The Commission recommends that no government agency should require a person to list their sex or gender on forms or records unless there is a particular necessity to do so. The Commission acknowledges that there are some documents, such as cardinal documents, that require a notation about sex or gender for security reasons.

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There are also other cases where recording sex or gender on forms or records is necessary, such as to ensure that a person can access gender-appropriate benefits from Medicare or Centrelink. Another example may be the gathering of data in order to monitor progress in achieving gender equality. The Commission therefore acknowledges that in some circumstances it is reasonable and legitimate to include sex and gender markers on forms and documents. The Commission notes, however, that the process for amending the notation of sex and gender should still follow the recommendations outlined above.

However, in many other circumstances, the Commission believes that government agencies record sex or gender when it is not necessary for security or other legitimate reasons.

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The Commission therefore recommends government agencies reconsider the need for sex and gender markers on its forms and records and, where appropriate, remove or phase out such fields. The Commission notes that there is no consistent approach to the collection of sex and gender information. The Commission believes national guidelines would assist agencies and other organisations to minimise the unnecessary collection or recording of sex or gender markers when preparing forms and keeping records.

Where it is necessary that sex or gender be provided, the Commission recommends that people be able to write their sex or gender as male, female or unspecified.

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For example, responsibility for the administration of passports lies with the federal government, whereas birth certificates and drivers licences are regulated by state and territory governments. However, the Commission is convinced that the current system is unduly restrictive for people who wish to gain legal recognition of their sex, and is also complex and inconsistent. Even at the federal level, the Commission observes that there is a lack of consistency across departments and agencies in respect of processes and policies for collecting, recording and amending sex markers in official documents and records.

The Commission considers that the federal government should take a strong leadership role in ensuring that processes and criteria throughout Australia are consistent, streamlined and fair for people who wish to change their legal sex. The Commission has identified two alternative ways by which the federal government might provide such leadership. The federal government could:.

The Commission does not specify a view as to the most effective mechanism to achieve this consistency. However, it is convinced that national leadership is necessary, while also recognising that many problems concerning the legal recognition of sex fall largely outside the responsibility of the federal government.

In the event that either of the two options outlined above fail to result in sufficient support from state and territory governments, the federal government should consider legislation to:. The Commission considers that if a national board or office discussed below in section As outlined above, the Commission has identified the establishment of a national board as one option for furthering national consistency in line with the recommendations of this paper.

The remainder of this section assumes the adoption of this option. The national board envisaged by the Commission would have responsibility for receiving and determining applications for official recognition of a change in sex. It has become clear to the Commission during its consultations that changing birth certificates is one of the most significant issues for persons seeking to change the legal recognition of their sex.

Thus we acknowledge that certificates issued by the proposed national board would only be of limited assistance to members of the sex and gender diverse community unless those certificates were also recognised by the states and territories under their respective systems. The Commission notes that the legislative framework for such recognition is already in place.

In addition to its determination function, the Commission also envisages that the new board would have the following additional functions:. However, if a national board is not created, the Commission would nevertheless recommend the establishment of a national office which would exercise functions other than a determination function, such as playing an advisory and assistance role to the community and federal government.

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The office could be accommodated within an existing department and may involve only a small number of staff and resources, given the small numbers of people likely to require its assistance. The Commission also considers that the establishment of a national office may be an appropriate starting point for the federal government in implementing the recommendations in this paper.

The office could provide a focal point for negotiations with state and territory governments and in driving the harmonisation of federal policies and procedures in relation to legal recognition of sex, as well as in establishing a national board with a determination function if necessary. Participants also raised concerns about people living in remote areas who do not have access to medical practitioners. The Commission appreciates the concerns about medical evidence. However, the Commission believes that medical evidence is still widely considered to be an appropriate criterion for supporting sex identity.

The Commission acknowledges that some people may not be able to access medical treatment and therefore supports the decision-maker being given discretionary powers to consider a range of evidence in relation to the particular circumstances when determining sex. Some Sex Files participants argued that there should be no surgical or medical requirements for a person to request a change in sex and that a person should be able to self-identify their sex.

These participants argued that Australia currently allows a person to change their name by deed poll with virtually no restriction which has not led to any material security issues.


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  6. Participants argue that self-identification of sex identity can be achieved without disruption to security protocols. However, in order to verify identities for the purposes of security, it is also important that there are objective criteria and evidence for amending sex identity.

    Whilst the Commission acknowledges that some people might have a shifting sex or gender identity, the Commission notes that a majority of people who are sex and gender diverse do identify as either male or female. A person over 18 years who was unable to meet the criterion of permanency would be able to request their sex be unspecified. The Commission envisages a national board to be a place to facilitate changes on federal documents and records and assist people who are sex and gender diverse in documentation issues.

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    The broadening of criteria should mean that the process is simplified and more accessible. In addition, under this model of a national board, persons who wish to have their sex legally recognised on birth certificates and other state and territory-issued documents can still choose to apply to state and territory Birth Registrars or other bodies, if they so wish. States and territories may amend their laws to recognise certificates issued by the national board, yet retain their functions of receiving and assessing applications. The main purposes of such a national board would be to make things easier for people who are sex and gender diverse, make the legal recognition of sex more consistent at the federal level, and encourage consistency across state and territory determinations.

    The national board could also function to raise awareness more generally about sex and gender diversity issues. Participants have told the Commission that its recommendations dismiss the common understanding about sex and sexual characteristics. For example, some participants have argued that the common understanding of sex requires a woman to not have a penis and a man to not be able to give birth.

    These participants argue that genital surgery should remain the only criterion for a change in legal sex.