The Scavenger: NSW Attorney General seeks to invalidate Norrie’s ‘sex not specified’ legal document

The Scavenger: Attorney General tries to invalidate Norrie’s ‘sex not specified’ legal document
OII Australia notes that SAGE did not seek support or commentary from intersex people or intersex organizations when embarking on this campaign. We are often the last to hear about these kinds of actions.

This article ascribes positions to intersex people that are not held by any intersex organization worldwide. Foremost is that this a change that might be desired by many intersex people. It is not.

We support Norrie’s right to self-determination, but not where it impinges on the rights of intersex people to identify as men or women, or if it might create a situation where intersex people are defined as members of a third sex by default.

Intersex organizations made up of intersex individuals and intersex themselves are the ones who should and speak for intersex.

The complaint will allege a breach of the Australian 1984 Sex Discrimination Act and a breach of the United Nations Charter of Human Rights that protects a person’s right to self-determine their own social identity, unfettered by the state.

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Zoe Brain

We need to coordinate our efforts. It’s not that they’re coordinated badly, it’s that they’re not coordinated at all. We have individuals, all trying to do what they can from their own viewpoint, which may not be the same as others. This isn’t always bad, as long as they make no claim to speak for groups rather than as individuals.

The problem is that individuals will be seen as representative, when they’re not. I’m acutely aware of my own status there.

At least The Hungry Beast *did* manage to get through the one message I think we all can agree on: to stop infant mutilation, and allow but not require surgery with informed consent for intersexed people.



Zoe, there are many things we all agree with in respect of intersex.

As individuals speaking on behalf of their own experience of intersex there is no need to coordinate and I think it would be impossible to do so. As an organization OII Australia coordinates its efforts and works in conjunction with other LGBTI organizations to achieve common objectives.

OII has some difficulty with the SAGE situation insofar as, while having membership of that organization through Gina Wilson, we were not made aware there was a move to have “Not specified” put on a recognition certificate. We were never contacted, consulted or advised. This was entirely the action of one or two members of SAGE so far as we are aware.

We fear that the way this matter has been addressed may prove to be an impediment for further approaches to the Attorney General.

Legally “Not specified” has no standing in law. That is, there is no legal structure in place to take into account individuals who wish to opt out of the sex binary and/or gender binary. Giving that assignment effectively launches the applicant into a legal void.

Much greater thought and legislative change is necessary for this classification to be less of a legal minefield.


Zoe Brain

I’m a member of SAGE too, and I knew nothing about it either.

I’m more into the “Education” rather than “Activism” aspect anyway.


It is a concern if an organisation is engaging in political activities and its constituent members are not kept aware of those activities.

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