Call for action by the new government

IHRA is pleased to share our call for action by the new government. It includes calls for action to promote legislative reform, resource peer support and advocacy, reform medical codes, and provide redress.

Call for action on intersex health and human rights

1. National legislation to protect the human rights of people with innate variations of sex characteristics in medical settings

1a. In the alternative, nationally consistent legislation to protect the human rights of people with innate variations of sex characteristics in medical settings

2. National human rights-affirming standards of care for medical treatment involving people with innate variations of sex characteristics

3. National resourcing for peer and family support and advocacy services for people with innate variations of sex characteristics and our families, including a dedicated helpline

4. Reform to paediatric MBS item codes to end reimbursement incentives for unnecessarily early surgeries on children with innate variations of sex characteristics

5. Update sex/gender recognition guidelines to match the 2021 ABS Standard on Sex, Gender, Variations of Sex Characteristics and Sexual Orientation, to ensure accurate, respectful data collection in government and health systems

6. Update the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) to implement protections for people with innate variations of sex characteristics on the ground of ‘sex characteristics’ rather than ‘intersex status’

7. Add missing protections in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)

8. Education curriculum reform to provide clear, accurate, human rights-affirming information about innate variations of sex characteristics

9. Redress for individuals subjected to harmful practices

Explanatory information, including community, Australian Human Rights Commission, clinical and other policy frameworks that underpin these calls for action are detailed in the attached PDF.

Morgan Carpenter, executive director, says:

These actions respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of people with innate variations of sex characteristics, implementing recommendations by community, the Australian Human Rights Commission, UN Treaty Body recommendations to Australia, and key clinical and statistics institutions. Previous governments could have chosen to act on these recommendations and, while leading States and Territories are now starting to implement their own reform, we need clear, concrete and coherent action by the Commonwealth government.

Cody Smith, senior project officer, says:

With a new government comes new opportunities. Without the support of federally consistent legislation we have been scrambling to find support at the state level. It needs to be said that gaps in approach and understanding produce jurisdictions that cannot protect the human rights of intersex people.

What we need this government to remember is that the most straightforward choices that leave the strongest legacy, are those that protect human rights. This is a government that had a comprehensive LGBTIQ+ policy platform. Now they need to look to intersex orgs, their state based colleagues, as well as leadership from other parties to remember what their commitments to intersex human rights were.

This is where our allies can help make our needs known and use their voices to make us loud. We need this reform so our communities can recover from the trauma of stigma, shame, and medical violence that has been our truth for decades.

Michelle McGrath, a committee member of Intersex Peer Support Australia (IPSA), comments:

Absolutely necessary legal reform to end these harmful, non-consensual medical practices on children and allow us as adults, to move on with our lives. National legislation is the only way there can be consistency in the law to protect the lives of our Intersex community.