Page 1816 - Week 06 - Thursday, 8 June 2023
These reforms recognise that being intersex is not a disorder or a medical condition that needs to be fixed. Intersex variations are a natural part of human diversity and every individual, regardless of their sex characteristics, deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. With medical intervention to the bodies of intersex people without their consent, we are essentially sending a message that there is something inherently wrong or abnormal about being intersex, and this is not true.
Mimi’s letter went on to say:
How different my experience would have been if I had been protected by legislation like the one presented today. This Bill would not only have protected me from harmful practices from a young age, but provided me and my family with much needed support. Support my parents never had but desperately needed, support that parents of young intersex children will now have. This bill is essential to stop harmful and unnecessary medical interventions from being performed on children without their consent, and is the first step in removing shame, stigma, and secrecy from the lives of intersex children so that they can grow up not feeling broken and unnatural but supported and complete.
This legislation sends a powerful message to society as a whole that intersex variations are not flaws to be corrected but simply a part of beautiful human diversity—differences to be respected and, indeed, celebrated. It paves the way for greater acceptance, understanding and support for intersex individuals, contributing to a more inclusive and compassionate society.
The ACT Greens and, in fact the global Greens movement as a whole, is proud to have a long history of voting to bring about rights and protections to the LGBTQIA+ community, and this, of course, is no exception, but it is meaningfully different too. Intersex people have, for a long time, been incorporated in the LGBTQIA+ community movement because their bodies seemingly challenge the deeply held but false belief that sex is binary, that being cisgender is a natural evolution of this fact, and that heterosexuality is the normal manifestation of sexual and romantic attraction stemming from these other binaries. Those ideas are expressly untrue. So many of us in this parliament are testament to that fact.
Intersex people’s bodies are not just an allegory for us to unmask the illusion of heteronormativity. These are real people’s lives, bodies and experiences. Enacting legislation to prevent unnecessary and deferrable medical interventions is a crucial step in achieving justice and equality for intersex people. It is my hope that these reforms are just the beginning of achieving social justice for intersex people. It is my sincere hope that these reforms are quickly followed by all other jurisdictions in this country.
These protections are a first in Australia, and some of the first in the world, to recognise and protect the bodily integrity of intersex people and their right to self-determination, and it has taken a long time to get here. It is particularly thanks to the diligent, passionate and highly intellectual work of advocates involved with Intersex Human Rights Australia, including Steph Lum, Cody Smith, Morgan Carpenter, Bonnie Hart, Mimi Hall and Gabriel Filpi, that this legislation exists.
The work that went into the development of the Darlington Statement in 2017 was a