Transgender Canberrans have had unwanted hysterectomies, been detained at airports and suffered workplace discrimination, submissions into a Law Reform Advisory Council inquiry reveal.
Responses to the council's inquiry into the legal recognition of transgender and intersex people in the ACT call for sweeping reforms to the territory's laws to ensure the protection of human rights.
ACT Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner Helen Watchirs said the Birth, Deaths and Marriage Registration Act needs to be amended to remove requirements for a person to have sexual reassignment surgery before they can change their sex on the birth register. She said current requirements breach an individual's right to privacy, movement and freedom of expression.
The commissioner recommended laws be amended to include a definition of ''non-binary gender'' and said unnecessary genital surgery on an intersex child should be delayed until they are old enough to provide consent.
In a joint submission, A Gender Agenda and the Women's Legal Centre said changing a person's legal sex should be based on self-identification.
They said genital and reproductive organ surgery should only be performed on children who are old enough to make an informed decision.
ACT Law Reform Advisory Council chair Simon Rice said the submissions highlighted the bravery of the local transgender and intersex community.
''Through a lack of awareness of difference they experience instances of direct discrimination,'' he said.
I've had a small input to this process as part of the Australian National University's panel of experts on the issue, advising the ACT Law Reform Council. No guarantees, the report will be delivered in November, but there is considerable bipartisan support for humane legal reforms in this area. The aim is to provide a "best practice" legal template for other states and territories to follow.