Submission on the religious discrimination bills and call for contributions

IHRA has today made a submission to the Attorney General’s Department on the government’s exposure draft religious discrimination bills. The submission was kindly endorsed by the AIS Support Group Australia.

In our submission, we outline some key issues affecting people born with variations of sex characteristics, and raise four specific concerns with the proposed legislation.

The proposed legislation appears likely to impact on people with intersex variations, particularly in healthcare settings, for example, in accessing scans, treatment and medication because they may be assumed to be LGBT even when not LGBT. The proposed legislation appears likely to disproportionately affect intersex people who visibly appear not to conform with norms for physical sex characteristics, or who are thought to have changed legal sex classification, irrespective of individuals’ actual histories and identities.

IHRA takes the view that no-one should experience discrimination in accessing services, and in particular in accessing health services. Overall, the proposed legislation appears to us to fail to balance the competing rights of different interests.

The submission contains an analysis of a profoundly contradictory landscape, including theology, policy and practice, facing people with intersex variations.

Download the submission


At the same time that we are sharing our submission on the draft legislation, we invite people with intersex variations to contribute experiences of inclusion and discrimination, to inform future submissions.

  • We want to present real-life experiences with religious institutions, and real-life experiences of religious teachings.
  • Our intention is to show positive experiences and experiences of discrimination and harm.
  • We are interested in experiences that relate directly or indirectly to your intersex variation or your status as a person with an intersex variation.
  • We acknowledge that some individuals and institutions may confuse or relate intersex with other issues, and we’re interested in experiences where this happens, too.
  • We want to know about experiences that have a connection to Australia (experiences of Australians/experiences in Australia).
  • We ask for your email address for data integrity purposes, but will keep that information as private as the law permits. We may contact you to confirm your statement.
  • We will anonymise responses, and we may use only extracts of long statements.
  • We are unlikely to be in a position to share all responses.