Published: 21 October 2021

There's hope the government will take the lead to implement legislative changes to protect intersex children from undergoing unnecessary, non-consenting medical intervention.

Intersex is an umbrella term for variations of sex characteristics that can be chromosomal, hormonal or structural.

In a recently released report, the Australian Human Rights Commission recommended all Australian states and territories pass legislation to prevent such medical interventions.

The Tasmanian Law Reform Institute made the recommendation to criminalise the practice in 2020.

Independent Murchison MLC Ruth Forrest said she was organising a meeting with Premier Peter Gutwein and people who are intersex, or their parents.

"I'm hoping the government might consider it [legislative reforms] and that the Premier will take the lead," Ms Forrest said.

She said the recommendations of the TLRI for reform should be adopted.

"Nobody wants to see a baby go into surgery unnecessarily." Ms Forrest said it was important for there to be more education and understanding of intersex variations.

Intersex Peer Support Australia Tasmanian representative Simone-lisa Anderson said she was advocating for surgeries that needed to occur, or wanted to occur, to happen at a later age.

"Since the TLRI recommended reform we have encountered significant support among Tasmanian politicians," Ms Anderson said.

A government spokesperson said it noted the final report from the TLRI, the AHRC report and proposed reforms in other jurisdictions in relation to these issues.

"As with any complex and sensitive potential law reform topics, the government is continuing to see advice while carefully considering the recommendations," the spokesperson said.

Shadow Attorney General Ella Haddad said Labor supported legislative action to make sure that surgeries could safely be delayed until the young person is old enough to have a say.

The Advocate, Thursday 21 October 2021

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