The Not So Private Lives of some intersex people

The interim report of the Not So Private Lives survey by Sharon Dane of The University of Queensland has been released in time for consideration in the Senate’s investigation into same sex [sic] marriage. The report concludes that the majority of so-called same sex attracted Australians want the option of marriage, same as every other Australian.

The survey excluded a number of Australians who are refused marriage equality and yet who are not ‘same sex attracted,’ however: heterosexual intersex people, the majority of intersex people.

Some of the survey’s underlying beliefs appear to be flawed. Despite being a same sex study, intersex people have been separated into binary categories based on gender identity, with no non-binary option. Very many intersex people have a more complex understanding of their biological sex, and their gender identity. Issues of sexual orientation are also complex, with many intersex people considering themselves only “same sex attracted” if attracted to other intersex people. Given the various ways of defining biological sex, and differences between biological and birth or other legal sex, very many intersex people are in relationships recognised by law to be opposite sex relationships.

Limited choices available on such issues will also have affected the survey results.


OII Australia would have preferred this survey and its interim report to reference marriage equality, not same sex marriage.

Intersex people most certainly do not have marriage equality nor any other kind of equality at all, nor human rights, and we ask that those facts not be left out of surveys into issues of equality.

OII Australia thanks Sharon Dane for her work on this survey and also thanks her for being so receptive to our inquiries.

More information

Read the report