Possibility of Being 'X': Experiences of Intersex Individuals in the Australian Legal System
1 May 2014 - 31 May 2015
About the research
This project has been inspired by ongoing collaboration between the researchers and IntersexUK. It aims to explore how recent legal changes to Australian gender policy have affected intersex individuals with the view to contributing to both theories of gender and UK policy. The overall aim of this research is to conduct a pilot project to explore how recent legal changes to Australian gender policy have affected intersex individuals with the view to contributing to theories of gender and UK policy. To achieve this aim, we have identified four core objectives which are to:
Review the current overlapping legal constructions of ‘intersex’ within the Australian context.
Explore how intersex individuals view and are responding to these constructions of intersex.
Gauge how far individual experiences of these legal constructions of intersex challenge and/or reaffirm current theories of gender and legal policy.
Consider what lessons UK policy can learn from the Australian approach and whether further research is needed in the UK context.
Fundamentally, the project seeks to put intersex voices at the forefront of legal developments in this area adopting a bottom up approach to both policy and gender theory. To do so, the researchers will conduct telephone interviews with a selection of intersex participants as well as advocacy groups working in this area such as OII Australia and Gender Agenda. Australia has been chosen as a site of study due to its inclusive attitude towards intersexuality in regards to passports, birth certificates and Sex Discrimination Law. This opt-in model stands in contrast to contemporary European models (such as Germany) where it is mandatory for children born with ambiguous genitalia to be defined as intersex. Together, these sources of law present fertile ground for a contextual discussion of the construction of intersex and can help inform debates in the UK which currently does not legally recognise intersexuality.