New guidelines on the recognition of gender

Mel Smith

Officer attached to GLBTI issues

The Australian Government has released new guidelines on the recognition of sex and gender.

From July 1 (with a phased implementation of three years) where sex and/or gender information is collected and recorded in a personal record for an Australian government department or agency, individuals should be given the option to select M (male), F (female) or X (Indeterminate/Intersex/Unspecified).

The implementation of the new guidelines seek to support a clear and consistent way for people who are intersex, transgender and gender diverse to establish or change their gender identity on personal records they hold with the Australian Government.

State and federal governments do not have consistent methods of recording sex and/or gender.

Federation has written to the NSW Department of Education and Communities to enquire whether they would adopt changes to documentation in a manner consistent with the Australian Government Guidelines, and to call on the Department to consider the development of policy and guidelines to support the enrolment of transgender and intersex students which recognises their special needs including the right to privacy and the provision of profession development for staff which fosters understanding and sensitivity on these matters.

The Department responded that any changes to the enrolment form or other documentation related to the gathering of sex or gender information will reflect the requirements of NSW legislation.

The Department also highlighted it has a number of policies that support the right of all students to be treated equitably and with dignity in a safe and supportive learning environment, and that the policies point to the need to provide appropriate support to individual students. The Department recognises that students who identify as transgender or intersex have particular needs when engaging in their education, and that individual students continue to be supported in school through learning and support teams.

Federation reminds members that should schools need assistance in supporting individual students in matters relating to GLBTI issues they are able to make contact with appropriate regional staff and the social inclusion unit of the Department if needed. If practises do not facilitate a safe and supportive learning environment, raise the matter through your Workplace Committee or with your local Organiser.