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Sydney resident Norrie, who identifies as neuter
Court ruling “stigmatises” intersex people

in AUSTRALIA, 16/06/2013

In a decision that could have far-reaching implications for intersex and gender nonspecific people nationwide, the NSW Court of Appeal has ruled that the term ‘sex’ does not have a binary meaning of ‘male’ or ‘female’.

On Friday the court overturned a ruling by the Administrative Decisions Tribunal stating that all people must register as either male or female with the NSW Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, allowing 52-year-old Sydney resident Norrie, who identifies as neuter and only uses one name, should be allowed to list an explicitly ‘non specific’ gender classification on official documents.

However, the ruling only applies for people who have had what the court termed a “sex affirmation procedure”, not to people who were born with ambiguous gender. The court also interpreted the terms ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ to mean the same thing, a conflation Organisation Intersex International Australia (OII) President Gina Wilson claims “further stigmatises an already stigmatised minority”.

Wilson pointed out that there is no legal recognition of people with something other than ‘male’ or ‘female’ on their birth certificates and warned that the ruling could have “far-reaching unintended consequences” for intersex people, including the inadvertent creation of a “new class of people, a third sex” unrecognised in law who would be unable to ever get married.

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