Gender transition and transsexualism
From time to time, instances have occurred of individual students or staff publically identifying as men or women contrary to the sex assigned to them at birth. Where an individual seeks medical and or surgical intervention to effect such a change, they are legally regarded as members of their affirmed sex.
Discrimination on the ground of gender identity is unlawful under the Equal Opportunity Act 1995 (Vic) (the Act) where gender identity means self identification as a person of the relevant gender. The Act acknowledges that a person may identify as a member of a particular gender by their style of dress, medical intervention or by other means, including a change of name. Medical intervention, in this sense, may include any relevant attention or treatment by a qualified medical practitioner, including hormone therapy, counselling and surgery. Other ways a person expresses their gender identity are also recognised. Thus the provision applies to people born intersexed (where incongruence exists between a person's major sex determinants, i.e. chromosomes, sex organs, hormones, secondary sexual characteristics etc) and with transexualism (where a person who appears to be of one sex but has an overwhelming desire to be the other), as well as the transgendered (those individuals who may identify and live intermittently or even full time as the other sex but have no desire to actually become that sex through medical intervention. People who have been assigned to a particular sex, either at birth or after medical procedures, are also protected by the "sex" attribute under the Act.
These guidelines have been developed to assist individual staff members or students undergoing gender transition or sexual reassignment to continue to work or study productively.
In order that individual staff members or students are not discriminated against or harassed on the basis of their "gender identity", appropriate action to be taken will include:
Approved by the Equal Opportunity Committee, Meeting 2/97, 24 July 1997 (Updated March 2004)