MONDAY, MAY 9, 2011

History will be made in Canberra on Wednesday, when Australia’s ISGD communities hold their first ever rally for equal rights.

Intersex, Sex and/or Gender Diverse people (ISGD) are groups of people who may be intersex, transexed, transsexual, transgendered, genderqueer, cross-dressers, androgynous, without sex and/or gender identity, and people with sex and/or gender culturally specific differences.

The rally – to be held at 1pm this Wednesday on the Parliament Lawn, Parliament House, Canberra – will mark the first time ISGD people have staged their own independent rally to call for equal treatment under the law.

Buses carrying campaigners are coming from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to the rally, which has received the personal support and endorsement of CLOVER MOORE MP, Independent Member for Sydney; WARREN ENTSCH, Federal MP and Chief Opposition Whip; and SARAH HANSON-YOUNG, Australian Greens Senator.

TRACIE O’KEEFE, member of Still Fierce: Sydney Intersex Sex and/or Gender Diverse collective, which is organising the rally, said the protest was a response to various inequalities and injustices faced by ISGD people in Australia.

“Unquestionably, all ISGD groups of people in Australia are legally marginalised in every state in many ways,” she said.

“Many people cannot get their birth records or documents changed to the correct sex when it has been incorrectly stated or they have changed their sex status.

“Others whose sex and/or gender may be other than strictly male or female are unable to have identity documents that reflect their true identities.”

O’Keefe said the discrimination against ISGD people included serious instances of child abuse and denial of medical treatment.

“The practice of unwanted surgeries on intersex children without their permission to ‘normalise’ their genitalia is sanctioned under the sinister veil of enforcing normality, instead of being seen as child abuse,” she said.

“Many sex and/or gender diverse young people who want medical treatment are denied it unless they are intimidated into going through the court system to gain legal permission.

“Meanwhile, full Medicare and pharmaceutical benefits for those ISGD people who cannot afford treatment is still only a pipe dream. They are discriminated against in comparison to people who seek other health needs from Medicare.”

O’Keefe said that in addition to Wednesday’s rally, a list of demands (available on the Still Fierce website) would be handed to Federal MPs.

BASTIAN FOX PHELAN, Still Fierce Sydney member, added:

“For many years I have been bullied and harassed verbally and physically for looking visibly gender variant or ‘in-between’. If we can at least protect ISGD people by creating laws that are inclusive of all intersex, sex and/or gender diverse people – including transgender and transsexual people – we might be able to start addressing the appalling high rates of violence experienced by trans women and other ISGD people.”

Sydney-based activist NORRIE, whose story made global headlines last year when Norrie was issued with what was believed to be the world’s first ‘sex not specified’ registration document (revoked shortly after by the then NSW Attorney General), said:

“Concepts of man or woman just don’t fit me; they are not my actual reality. I’ve spent a whole year fighting to have my ‘sex not specified’ document reinstated, which has been frustrating and left me in a legal limbo.  Governments need to govern for all people, not just those who fit into certain boxes.”

The rally has the backing of the Australian Federal Greens Party, Australian Socialist Alliance, Australian Health and Education Centre, Sex And Gender Education Australia (SAGE), Femme Guild Sydney, Scarlet Alliance, Equal Love Canberra, Young Lawyers Human Rights Committee (NSW), CRAVE Metropolitan Community Church (Sydney), Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH), Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) Student Union Queer Department [RUSU Queer Department], The University of Melbourne Student Union Queer Department [UMSU Queer], WA Gender Project, Still Fierce Melbourne , The Seahorse Society of NSW, University of Sydney Queer Students, and National Union of Students [NUS].

The rally comes on the back of last week’s report by the Australian Human Rights Commission, which urged the Federal Government to implement anti-discrimination laws to protect people on grounds of sex/gender identity, as well as sexual orientation.



MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Tracie O’Keefe: 0403 398 808.

List of demands can be read at:


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