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http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/court-rules-transsexuals-do-not-require-gender-reassignment-to-become-men/story-e6frg13u-1226160129097
Australia: gender reassignment does not require removal of reproductive organs

in AUSTRALIA, 23/10/2011

The High Court has granted gender reassignment recognition certificates to two applicants who retained their female reproductive organs. In AB v State Of Western Australia & Anor P15/2011 and AH v State Of Western Australia & Anor P16/2011 [2011] HCA 42 it upheld the decision of the State Administrative Tribunal and overturned the decision of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Western Australia in two cases originated in Western Australia.

The two appellants identify as male and applied for certificates to the Gender Reassignment Board which stated that they were male. Section 15(1)(b)(ii) of the Act relevantly provides that the Board must be satisfied that the person applying for a recognition certificate has the "gender characteristics" of the gender to which the person has been reassigned. "Gender characteristics" is defined by s 3 of the Act as "the physical characteristics by virtue of which a person is identified as male or female".

Despite the appellants undergoing the gender reassignment procedures of a bilateral mastectomy and testosterone therapy, their application was refused because they retained female sexual reproductive organs. Following a review of the Board's decisions, the Tribunal set aside the decisions, granted each application for a certificate and directed the Board to issue such a certificate. The Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Western Australia allowed the appeals from those decisions and set aside the Tribunal's decision.

The High Court, however, accepted the Tribunal's construction and meaning of "gender characteristics" in s 15(1)(b)(ii) of the Gender Reassignment Act 2000 (WA). The Court held that, for the purposes of the Act, the external physical characteristics by which a person is identified as male or female are socially recognisable and do not require knowledge of a person's remnant sexual organs. The requirements of the Act, including s 15(1)(b)(ii), are to be given a fair and liberal interpretation in order that they achieve the Act's beneficial purposes. The Act contains no warrant for implying further requirements such as potential adverse social consequences or community standards and expectations.

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