Intersex Status

In the ACT it is against the law for someone to discriminate against you because of a characteristic that you have, or that someone thinks you have, in an area of public life such as employment, education, accommodation, provision of goods and services, clubs.

It is against the law for someone to discriminate against you because of your intersex status.

Intersex people are born with physical or biological sex characteristics that do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies. For some intersex people these traits are apparent at birth, while for others they emerge later in life, often at puberty. There are many different intersex variations, including differences in the number of sex chromosomes, different tissue responses to sex hormones, or a different hormone balance.

Example of intersex status discrimination.

Amber is an intersex person who works as a stockbroker. She has recently discussed her intersex status with a colleague whose son was born with intersex variation. Another colleague overhead and since then she has had inappropriate comments and teasing from workmates that has left her feeling angry and uncomfortable.

Are there any exceptions?

It is not unlawful to take special measures to help groups or individuals who are disadvantaged or have been unfairly treated and need support to fully enjoy their human rights. For example, some disadvantaged groups experience greater social and economic disadvantage than other groups in society and may therefore require special assistance to enjoy their rights to the same level that other Australians enjoy those rights.

The law also contains specific exceptions making it lawful to discriminate in some circumstances.
Examples where discrimination is not unlawful in the ACT include:

  • carrying out an act that is necessary to comply with a Territory law or court order,
  • the availability of membership or the services of a voluntary association, or
  • appointing members of religious orders, such as priests or ministers.

What is vilification?

It is also against the law to vilify a person or group of people on the grounds of their intersex status. Vilification means to publicly incite hatred towards a person or group of people which is likely to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate that person or group of people.

Some examples might include:

  • Distributing pamphlets to the public ridiculing a person’s intersex status,
  • Wearing clothing with messages that denigrates a person’s intersex status,
  • Insulting or inciting hatred against people because of their intersex status by a speech at a public rally.
  • Vilification only extends to acts done ‘in public’ and does not include acts ‘done reasonably in good faith’.

To find out more or make a complaint.

For more information or to make a complaint about discrimination, vilification, sexual harassment or victimisation you can contact us by:

We can provide information about the complaint process or refer you to someone who can help you further. We provide free interpreting should you need it.