EXCLUSIVE: 8 March 2010: The NSW government in Australia has issued what is believed to be the world’s first ‘Sex Not Specified’ Recognised Details Certificate in place of a birth certificate, writes Katrina Fox.
Norrie, a member of Sex and Gender Education (SAGE), a lobby group campaigning for the rights of all sex and gender diverse people has been issued with what is understood to be the world’s first ‘Sex Not Specified’ Recognised Details Certificate in place of a birth certificate.
This means that Norrie (also known as norrie mAy-Welby) – a resident of Sydney, NSW – is legally recognised as neither male nor female according to the Australian government.
Originally Norrie, 48, was born in Scotland and registered as male at birth. At age 23 Norrie commenced sex and gender conversion to female through hormone and construction of a vagina and was then issued with a gender recognition certificate as female in Australia.
But this did not work out for Norrie as zie (gender-neutral pronoun) did not feel comfortable living solely as a female so zie ceased lifelong hormone treatment and took up a neuter identity which is neither male nor female, resisting any further female or male normalisation.
In January 2010 doctors declared that they were unable to determine Norrie as either male or female as zie has no gonads, the hormonal system was atypically male or female, and Norrie’s psychological identity was neuter.
NSW Births Deaths and Marriages then issued the ‘Sex Not Specified’ Details Recognition Certificate in accordance with recommendations made by the Australian Human Rights Commission’s 2009 report on the legal rights of sex and gender diverse people proposing a greater scope of legal recognition be used beyond male and female for certain individuals.
“This decision now has fundamental ramifications for neuter and intersex identified individuals in that they no longer have to be forced to live as male or female,” said Tracie O’Keefe, spokesperson for SAGE.
“Furthermore it is an enormous legal breakthrough for the rights of intersex children whose doctors and parents are confused about their sex at births and that they could be registered as ‘Sex Not Specified’ until they decide what sex would be right for them,” O’Keefe continued.
“Many intersex children have been forced into male and female identities, when not medically necessary, which they later felt were incorrect, including unnecessary brutal surgery to give them stereotypical looking genitalia, often leaving them without sensation or function.”