All posts in the legal category

When Being a Man Becomes Only Another Social Lable

Published August 19, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Transsexuals declared male without op | The Courier-Mail

The Western Australian State Administrative Tribunal ruled today in favour of two female-to-male pre-op transsexuals on a matter involving a decision by the WA Gender Reassignment Board refusal to issue them with certificates recognising “the reassignment of their gender”. The board had found against them because they had female reproductive systems, which it said was inconsistent with being male. However, in overturning the board’s decision, the administrative tribunal seemingly premised their decision on the applicants had presented as, and appeared to be, males”.

  • Both applicants had undergone bilateral mastectomies
  • Undergone testosterone treatment as a result of which each had undergone extensive physical changes consistent with being male,”
  • Each applicant intended to continue testosterone treatment for the rest of his life.
  • accepted the medical evidence that each was, and would remain, infertile for as long as he continued testosterone treatment

The tribunal said it noted that a surgical procedure was not a requirement of the state’s Gender Reassignment Act 2000. While it said a female reproductive system was “a fundamental, although not essential, physical characteristic of being female”.

Determining that

“it was not persuaded that the presence of those organs alone, in circumstances in which there was no longer a capacity to bear children … outweighed the other physical characteristics by virtue of which each applicant is now identified as male”.

WA gender decision to become test case

A layperson’s view

There are two points that stand out

  • the weight given to the appellant’s social presentation over biological factors

Therefore, gender is about social perceptions and biological features while relevant seem secondary

Does that mean gender is more about social perception? If you look like a man then you are a man and if you look like a woman then you are a woman.  The conservatives must be spinning on their heads, that a public servants has usurped the ordained order. It may also be an example of a growing view that gender is a social descriptive label, rather than a biological one.

  • Fertility issue

What was the significance around the testosterone treatment if either person chooses to cease this treatment they would more likely be able to reverse their fertility status. While the tribunal  argue the existence of a ‘full female reproductive system was important it was not essential to determining gender. Does that mean any infertile woman could also be defined as a man?

Employment Non-Discrimination Act (USA)

Published August 11, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)

Would prohibit discrimination against employees on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability. Such protections are already available to employees of the federal government through executive orders for sexual orientation and gender identity in 1998 and 2009 respectively; this would extend them to employees in the private sector (religious organisations exempted).

First introduced in 1994

103rd Congress

House of Representatives

Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 1994

H.R. 4636 June 23, 1994 Rep. Gerry Studds (D-MA)

Died in the House Subcommittee on Select Education and Civil Rights


S. 2238 July 29, 1994 Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA)

Died in the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources


Introduced in the following congresses 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 110 on each occasion Gender Identity was not included and the bill either died in committee or failed on the floor when put to the vote.

111th Congress Employment Non-Discrimination Act 2009

Includes Gender Identity

House of Representatives

H.R. 2981 June 19, 2009 Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)

Referred to the House Judiciary Committee

H.R. 3017 June 24, 2009 Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)

Referred to the House Judiciary Committee


S. 1584 August 5, 2009 Rep. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

Referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee

Current U.S. LGBT employment discrimination laws

All employment:
Sexual orientation and gender identity Sexual orientation onlyState employment:
Sexual orientation and gender identity Sexual orientation only No state-level protection for LGBT employees

United ENDA coalition




Australian Human Rights Commission

Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986

An Act to establish the Australian Human Rights Commission, to make provision in relation to human rights and in relation to equal opportunity in employment, and for related purposes

The Australian Human Rights Commission works to promote and protect the rights

What are human rights?

Every person has inherent dignity and value. Human rights help us to recognise and respect that fundamental worth in ourselves and in each other.

Australia has agreed to uphold the human rights standards set out in a number of international treaties and declarations, including:

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

Related Legislation

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Equality


Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland

is an independent statutory authority established under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991.Our core business is to receive and deal with complaints of discrimination and other contraventions of the Act, and to promote human rights in Queensland.

Anti-Discrimination legislation and decisions

Tracking Your Rights: Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender & Intersex People


Gender Identity & Vilification


Published August 2, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Rainbow Legal – Australian Legal Links of interest to LGBTIQ (practical & reform)

GayLawNet – comprehensive resource

Australian Human Rights Commission – Complaints: 1300 656 419

Parliament of Australia – Know & lobby your local Federal member

Australian Law

Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department

Australian Law Online

National Association of Community Legal Centres

NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby

Department of Justice and Attorney-General

Legal aid Queensland

Women’s Legal Service

Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby

Gay and Lesbian Equality (WA) Inc

Darwin Community Legal Services

Australian Coalition for Equality

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group

Take from it what you may and your always welcome to add to the list or ask for the links to be updated