Intersex and trans communities hail Tas Anti-Discrimination bill
Intersex and other sex and gender diverse people are celebrating the release of the Tasmanian Government’s proposed amendments to the state’s Anti-Discrimination Act which will provide stronger protection for the transgender community and for the first time anywhere in Australia include specific protections for intersex people.
The move by the Tasmanian Government to provide explicit protection of the LGBTI community is seen as significant with Attorney-General Nicola Roxon currently working on new draft federal anti-discrimination laws.
Under the proposed Anti-Discrimination Amendment Bill 2012, intersex people are referred to directly and protected on the basis of anatomical differences of sex.
Intersex people have physical or genetic characteristics that are not wholly male or female.
Members of the intersex community are said to be pleased the bill manages to protect them without the need for creating a third sex or conflating intersex with gender identity.
Sydney-based President of Organisation Intersex International (OII) Australia, Gina Wilson (pictured), said it is believed the proposals are a world-first.
“The Government's proposal provides fully inclusive and explicit protection from discrimination for all intersex people,” she said.
“This is the first time this has occurred anywhere in the world, and I applaud the Tasmanian Government for taking such a principled stand.”
Tasmanian transgender rights advocate, Martine Delaney, said the bill provided further clarity to the rights of transgender people.
“By using the broad and inclusive term ‘transgender’ and by creating the new grounds for discrimination, ‘gender identity’, the government is signalling to transgender people that it considers discrimination against us to be as serious as other forms of bias,” Delaney said.
“Transgender and intersex people are very vulnerable to discrimination and I’m proud Tasmania is leading the world in protecting us from discrimination.”
Under existing laws in Tasmania, transgender and intersex people who experience discrimination may only file a case under the limited term ‘transsexuality’ which is wrongly labelled as a ‘sexual orientation’ rather than as a gender identity.
Transgender people are those who identify with a sex other than the one they were born with.
It is thought the amended bill will have a good chance at passing the Tasmanian Parliament which only narrowly failed to pass the country’s first state-based same-sex marriage bill in late September.
That bill is now facing an Upper House inquiry following concerns over its constitutional validity while members of the transgender and intersex communities had also voiced fears the bill in its current guise would not afford them equal marriage rights.
A copy of the proposed Anti-Discrimination Amendment Bill 2012 can be viewed at http://www.parliament.tas.gov.au/bills/pdf/45_of_2012.pdf