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Gender transition and transsexualism

Introduction

An individual student or staff member may identify as a man or woman when this is different to the sex assigned to them at birth. The individual may seek medical and/or surgical intervention to effect such a change, or simply live with this change.  A person who seeks to live this way on a genuine basis, will be recognised as such by Monash University at their request according to the following guidelines.

Discrimination on the ground of gender identity is unlawful under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) (the Act).  Gender identity means a person genuinely identifying 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. Medical intervention may include any relevant attention or treatment by a qualified medical practitioner, including hormone therapy, counselling and surgery. 

The protection against discrimination applies to a person 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 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 and students who genuinely seek to live as a person of a sex different to that assigned at birth, including those undergoing gender transition or sexual reassignment, to continue to work or study productively.

Guidelines

In order that a staff member or student is not discriminated against or harassed on the basis of their "gender identity", where the person identifies their gender identify, Monash University can support the person by action that may include:

  • Upon request and with the production of appropriate supporting documentation, to amend university records so that all employment and academic records reflect the name and/or gender the individual identifies with.
  • If necessary, the head of department or nominee will be responsible for taking steps to prevent discrimination or harassment of the member of staff or student because of their "gender identity". The staff member or student concerned may be consulted.
  • With the consent of the individual, workplace colleagues, fellow-students or teaching staff may be briefed to improve understanding and acceptance of the staff member or student and their circumstances.
  • Counselling or other support can be made available to the individual and to workplace colleagues or fellow-students.
  • Respecting the individual's privacy by release of information by consent, or on a need to know basis.
  • Equal opportunity guidelines on promotion and staff selection make clear that "gender identity" is an attribute protected under the Act, from decisions that discriminate based on this attribute, and this extends to persons who are born intersexed, are transexual or transgender.
  • The Equity and Diversity Centre is available to provide assistance to the individuals to whom the "gender identity" attribute applies.
  • A staff member or student who believes he or she has been discriminated against or harassed on account of their "gender identity" may consult a Discrimination and Harassment Grievance Adviser and request support, conciliation or investigation under the Discrimination and Harassment Grievance Procedures.

Approved by the Equal Opportunity Committee, Meeting 2/97, 24 July 1997 (Updated March 2004, June 2013)