Constructions of intersex and DSD in Australian data

Ambivalent attention and indeterminate outcomes: constructing intersex and DSD in Australian data
Last year, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, a government agency, invited Morgan Carpenter to write a paper. The resulting document was first submitted in November 2021. It is shortly to be published by a UK university.

It presents a detailed analysis of the ways that intersex, ‘indeterminate sex’ and ‘disorders of sex development’ have been written into Australian legal, regulatory and clinical frameworks, typically in ways that disregard community input, and with a long history of bad practice.

The paper calls for reform to:

  • legal sex/gender classifications, to avoid conflating innate variations of sex characteristics with these classifications.
  • disease classifications.
  • paediatric and adult Medicare Benefits Schedule codes, to take account of community and human rights recommendations, and ensure that paediatric surgeries are not incentivised, before individuals are able to express their own values and preferences about treatment.
  • reform to clinical and LGBTI research, and resourcing for community-based participatory research
  • provide for affirmative education and community engagement.

The paper is entitled ‘Ambivalent Attention and Indeterminate Outcomes: Constructing Intersex and DSD in Australian Data’. A preprint can be downloaded from