Jun 18, 2013

    'Sexless' now third gender in Australia

    A LANDMARK ruling won by an Australian gender trailblazer - which found that sex does not just mean male or female - could have broader implications as society becomes more accepting of diversity, experts said.

    Sexual-equality campaigner Norrie, who does not identify as either male or female, last month won a bid to have a new gender category on the register of births, deaths and marriages in New South Wales, Australia's most populous state.

    "I'm very happy that I have been told, in no uncertain terms, that what sex you are is not just male or female necessarily," Norrie, who uses only a first name, said.

    Born as a male, Norrie underwent gender-reassignment surgery in 1989 to become a woman. However, the operation failed to resolve the Scotland- born person's ambiguity about sexual identity.

    Norrie made global headlines in February 2010 when the New South Wales Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages accepted "sex non-specific" as a designation in her records.

    But soon afterwards, the office revoked its decision, saying the certificate was invalid and had been issued in error. At the time, Norrie said the decision left her feeling "socially assassinated".

    So began a series of appeals, ending with a decision last month in the New South Wales Court of Appeal which ruled that sex should not be limited to male or female, though it stopped short of defining other categories.