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Australia's first legal neuter loses sexless status


Agence France-Presse
First Posted 15:24:00 03/19/2010

Filed Under: Gender Issues, Human Rights

SYDNEY ? The first person in Australia to be legally recognized as neither male nor female has complained to the country's human rights watchdog after authorities revoked a certificate declaring them sexless.

Norrie May-Welby made headlines earlier this month after the New South Wales Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry issued a certificate declaring the Scottish-born 48-year-old "sex not specified."

The New South Wales government this week said the official document had been withdrawn after legal advice suggested the registry did not have the power to issue such a certificate.

The Australian Human Rights Commission said Norrie had filed an official complaint following the revocation.

"I can confirm that the complaint has been lodged under the Sex Discrimination Act," a commission spokeswoman told Agence France-Presse on Friday.

Norrie was born a man and underwent gender reassignment surgery 20 years ago to become a woman. But doctors recently said because Norrie had stopped taking female hormones several years ago, they were unable to determine gender.

"A couple of years after the operation I decided I wanted to go off hormones and find out what it was like without taking my identity from a bottle," Norrie told public broadcaster ABC.

"I'm very happy and well-adjusted with myself being androgynous and with people seeing me as such."

Born with "boy bits" but more inclined to identify with their mother, Norrie said they were ?over the moon? when the original certificate was issued.

"And suddenly the attorney-general's turned around and said 'oops I made a mistake, I shouldn't have done that, it's not valid'," Norrie said.

"I felt like I'd been socially assassinated."

The Australian Human Rights Commission last year recommended state law be changed to allow people 18 years or older to nominate a non-specific gender on documents and records.

Norrie said authorities should recognize a wider gender spectrum.

"If I've got this certificate I can say 'your system has to accommodate the people it's there to serve, we don't have to chop ourselves up to fit the system', that's been my stance," Norrie said.



Copyright 2014 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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