The inquiry asks how, not whether, to give legal recognition to the gender and sex diverse community, reflecting the government’s commitment to achieving equality of treatment under the ACT Human Rights Act. The inquiry is focussed on ACT law, and is not able to address directly the issues that arise under Commonwealth legislation, relating for example to marriage, passports and social security.
The issue of recognising gender and sex diversity was given significant impetus by the Sex Files: the legal recognition of sex in documents and government records 2009 report from the Australian Human Rights Commission. The LRAC inquiry in the ACT is the first public process to look into implementing policies recommended by that report, and any reforms which might take place in the ACT could lead to national agreement on laws that give equality to the gender and sex diverse community.
Public submissions are being sought on an Issues Paper, available at http://lawreform.act.gov.au.
SIMON RICE is chair of the ACT Law Reform Advisory Council.