Sex Characteristics

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 sex characteristic variations or 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.

Vilification on the basis of sex characteristics is also covered by the Discrimination Act.

Example of sex characteristics 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.

Tony has intersex sex characteristics. Tony attends an appointment with his GP for his blood pressure medication. As he is leaving the GP’s surgery Tony hears the reception staff discussing his status loudly and laughing about his presentation as a man.

Sex characteristics vilification

It is also against the law to vilify a person or group of people on the grounds of their sex characteristics. 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.

Examples of sex characteristics vilification

  • Distributing pamphlets to the public ridiculing a person’s intersex status
  • Posting offensive comments about intersex people on a public website or facebook page
  • Insulting or inciting hatred against people because of their intersex status by a speech at a public rally.

To find out more or make a complaint

For more information you can contact us.
To make a complaint please complete our complaint form.