ACT move to end non-consenting intersex medical intervention

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5/27/22

The ACT Government has released a draft bill outlining plans to end non-consenting medical interventions on intersex children. The legislation was developed after consultations with experts and lived experience participants, and ongoing advocacy from intersex and LGBTQIA+ organisations. The Variations in Sex Characteristics (Restricted Medical Treatment) Bill 2022 sets out new processes to be applied when medical treatment for people with variations in sex characteristics is being considered. The Bill would only allow for medical treatment for emergency procedures to protect an individuals health, treatments that do not affect sex characteristics, easily reversible treatments or if the individual is seeking treatment with informed consent. Intersex Human Rights Australia executive director Morgan Carpenter says this draft legislation marks a historic moment. “For more than twenty years, the intersex movement in Australia has sought legal reforms to protect people with innate variations of sex characteristics in medical settings,” Carpenter says. “The persistence of so-called ‘normalising’ interventions, intending to make the bodies of children with intersex variations fit gender stereotypes, has been our most intractable issue.” “Working with ourselves and other intersex advocates, the ACT government made a formal commitment to reform in 2019, and this thoughtful, carefully considered draft legislation is the product of years of productive engagement.” “To the maximum extent possible, it aims to ensure that all of us can make our own decisions about our own bodies. Alongside it, we anticipate increased resourcing for peer and family support.” Just.Equal Australia has also welcomed the release of the draft law, and has called on other states and territories to follow the ACT’s lead.

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