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Tasmanian intersex discrimination plans hailed as ‘world first’

Australian state is set to specifically include intersex people in its anti-discrimination laws in what is believed to be a world first
Tasmanian transgender activist Martine Delaney

The last Australian state to decriminalize homosexuality is set to become the first state in the world to specifically protect intersex people from discrimination in a planned overhaul of Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Act that will also benefit transexual and transgender people.

Organization Intersex International (OII) Australian chapter president Gina Wilson praised the move by Tasmanian lawmakers.

‘The Government's proposal provides fully inclusive and explicit protection from discrimination for all intersex people,’ Wilson said.

‘This is the first time this has occurred anywhere in the world, and I applaud the Tasmanian Government for taking such a principled stand.’

Tasmanian transgender rights advocate, Martine Delaney also praised the move.

‘By using the broad and inclusive term 'transgender' and by creating the new grounds for discrimination, 'gender identity', the government is signalling to transgender people that it considers discrimination against us to be as serious as other forms of bias,’ Delaney said.

‘Transgender and intersex people are very vulnerable to discrimination and I'm proud Tasmania is leading the world in protecting us from discrimination.’

Under existing laws if transgender and intersex people experience discrimination in Tasmania they can only take a case under the limited term ‘transsexuality’ which is labelled a ‘sexual orientation’ rather than a gender identity.

In the proposed amendments to the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act ‘transsexuality’ will be grouped with the new term ‘transgender’ as ‘gender identities’ while ‘intersex’ will become an entirely new grounds for discrimination.

Transgender people are those who identify with a sex other than the one they were born with while intersex people have physical or genetic characteristics that are not wholly male or female.

Since decriminalizing homosexuality in 1997, Tasmania has become one of the most progressive states on LGBT rights issues, repeatedly re-electing the country's first openly gay party leader and only narrowly missing out on becoming the first Australian state to legalize same-sex marriage earlier this year.

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