Report: Submissions re Draft Legislation To Protect The Rights Of Intersex People In Medical Settings


Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate  (ACT), August 2022

Consultation on the draft Variations in Sex Characteristics (Restricted Medical Treatment) Bill 2022 closed on Friday 8 July. A Listening Report has been prepared summarising the input provided by stakeholders during the consultation.

This report is intended to provide transparency regarding the range of views and issues received.

The feedback received was diverse, covering both common views and divergent views including perspectives to broaden the bill and provide stronger protections and, perspectives that oppose the
legislation altogether.

Common views between stakeholders included:
• Recognition there are at least some medical interventions that are best deferred.
• People with variations in sex characteristics represent a diverse group with significant diversity in healthcare needs, and any approach to this issue must be sensitive to the circumstances of individuals.
• Strong support for increased psychosocial and peer support for individuals and their families.

The primary areas of divergence in opinion between stakeholder groups include:
• Intersex and LGBTIQ+ organisations and mental health professional organisations prefer a legislated restriction on medical interventions.
• Health professionals and their organisations and, some parents rejected the need for the legislation, and challenged the scope of the legislation.
• There was significant feedback on a list of proposed variations in sex characteristics that was included in the consultation. These included divergent views, with some stakeholders, especially medical stakeholders, and parents, arguing for the removal of many items from the list, and intersex organisations arguing to expand the list.
• The proposed new statutory committee that would oversee restricted medical interventions, including who is represented on the committee, and the extent of the powers it should have. Medical professionals generally argued that a version of the multidisciplinary teams already in use would be a better alternative to a new statutory committee. In contrast, intersex and LGBTIQ+ stakeholders viewed it as important to create an independent committee with decision making powers in some circumstances. They said it should include representation from the intersex community and human rights experts.

These key design features of the legislation remain contentious.

By J Pope

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