07:50 | 26th April 2019

News: World

Fri 19 Mar, 2010
By Danielle Carter

Norrie was registered as male at birth, began hormone treatment at 23 and had surgery to become a woman - but has since ceased taking hormones and identifies as neither sex.

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Australia - Attorney General backs down on gender ruling

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The case of the state's first genderless citizen has forced the equivalent of a bureaucratic sex change on the government.

It has revoked an official document issued last month to an androgynous Sydneysider called Norrie whose sex was listed as genderless.

Sydney's most famous gender-ender made the news from London to Beijing last week when the Herald revealed that the government had for the first time issued a registered details certificate and a change of name certificate saying ''sex: not specified''.

But Norrie received a phone call on Tuesday from the Births, Deaths and Marriages registrar Greg Curry, who said he had legal advice the document was invalid.

In Parliament yesterday, the Attorney-General, John Hatzistergos, said the media coverage had prompted many inquiries. Mr Curry and the director-general of the Attorney-General's Department, Laurie Glanfield, sought advice from the Solicitor-General.

The registry refused to release the full advice, but said it concluded the registrar did not have the power to issue certificates with the sex recorded as anything other than male or female.

The 48-year-old from Redfern has since received a replacement change of name certificate that says ''sex: not stated'' - which a spokeswoman said was standard for such documents - and offering a fee refund of about $100.

Norrie, who recently jettisoned the surname ''May-Welby'', felt ''violated'' by the bureaucratic reassignment and filed a discrimination claim yesterday with the Human Rights Commission.

''I think it's really funny that these bean-counters think there's a difference between 'not specified' and 'not stated'. We are beyond Monty Python now,'' Norrie said yesterday.

The issue came to a head because the government, which recently amended the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act to allow for sex changes in foreign-born citizens, did not consider that anyone might want their sex to be unrecorded.

Norrie was registered as male at birth, began hormone treatment at 23 and had surgery to become a woman - but has since ceased taking hormones and identifies as neither sex.

The Greens are now calling for reforms to allow sexless documentation for adults, which was a recommendation in a Human Rights Commission report last year.


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