Queensland Opposition Leader Slams Non-Binary Birth Certificate Proposal


Deb Frecklington

Queensland opposition leader Deb Frecklington has slammed calls to allow intersex Queenslanders an option other than male or female on their birth certificates.

Last month the Queensland government announced a review into the state’s Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration (BDMR) Act, and released a discussion paper exploring how Queensland “can improve the legal recognition of sex and gender diverse people, in response to changing community attitudes and understanding about gender.”

The paper says “limitations” exist in how sex and gender are currently recorded, and the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 2003 has not been comprehensively reviewed since its introduction.

“Calls have been made to include either another category of sex, to allow individuals to self-identify their sex or gender when registering a life event, or to choose their sex or gender from a range of additional categories of sex, such as non-binary, unspecified, non-specific, indeterminate or intersex,” the paper reads.

Close to 2 per cent of people are born intersex – the “I” in “LGBTI” – meaning they have internal or external sex anatomy that doesn’t fit typical definitions of “female” or “male”.

LNP opposition leader Deb Frecklington (pictured) told the Courier-Mail the discussion paper was “political correctness gone mad” and said Queenslanders are more concerned with schools and hospitals than “what is on their birth certificate.”

“Annastacia Palaszczuk’s priorities are simply wrong,” she said.

“State governments should be about delivery not social engineering… the thought police have gone way too far this time.

“These are official government records, you can only be born male or female.”

Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said the government’s position would be informed by submissions to the review and “it was important to consider as many perspectives and viewpoints as possible.”

“There are many people in the LGBTI community who feel current laws don’t adequately reflect or capture the true fabric of all Queensland families,” she said.

“Now that we have marriage equality, the time is right to examine whether Queensland’s life event registration services can be better aligned with changing community expectations as well as the needs of LGBTI Queenslanders.”

Advocacy group Intersex Human Rights Australia said in their submission to the review that Queensland should recognise a “non-binary” legal classification of sex and gender, with such a classification available to intersex people on an “opt-in” basis after giving consent, not from birth.

Changes to birth certificates should be available via a simple administrative procedure, for example, via a statutory declaration, they said.

In 2011, the Australian Passport Office made available a non-binary “X” marker to all individuals with medical documentation of their “indeterminate” sex.

Federal government guidelines on the recognition of sex and gender, published in 2013, extended the use of an “X” gender marker to any adult who chooses that option for all dealings with government agencies.

The Australian Capital Territory introduced an “X” classification for birth certificates in 2014.