Providing supporting statements for patients updating their gender classification
Registered health professionals may be asked to provide written evidence for a patient to update their gender classification in their personal record with us.
The Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender were released on 1 July 2013. They provide guidance on the collection, use and amendment of sex and/or gender information in personal records held by Australian Government departments and agencies. The guidelines support legal protections against discrimination on the grounds of gender identity and intersex status in Commonwealth anti-discrimination law.
The guidelines recognise that individuals may identify and be recognised within the community as a gender other than the sex or gender they were assigned at birth. This should be recognised and reflected in their personal records.
Sex and gender classifications
The guidelines specify that where gender information is collected and recorded in a personal record, individuals should be given the option to select M (male), F (female) or X (Non-binary) in Australian Government records. A person’s sex and gender may not necessarily be the same.
Gender Guideline Definitions
|Sex||The chromosomal, gonadal and anatomical characteristics associated with a person’s biological sex. Individuals may have a range of circumstances or undergo a variety of treatments that make it difficult to define biological sex|
|Gender||Part of the person’s social and personal identity. It refers to each person’s deeply felt internal and individual identity and the way a person presents and is recognised within the community|
|Transgender/trans||A general term for a person whose gender is different to their sex at birth|
|Non-binary||A person who identifies as neither male nor female|
|Intersex||An intersex person is born with genetic, hormonal or physical sex characteristics that are not typically male or female|
Evidence of sex or gender that needs to be provided
The guidelines standardise the evidence required for a person to establish or update their gender in personal records held by Australian Government departments and agencies. Sex reassignment surgery or hormone therapy are not pre-requisites for the recognition of a change of gender in Australian Government records.
A person can provide one of the following forms of evidence to establish or update their gender classification:
- a valid Australian Government travel document, such as a valid passport, which specifies the preferred gender
- an amended state or territory birth certificate which specifies the preferred gender
- a state or territory Gender Recognition Certificate or Recognised Details Certificate showing a change in sex, or
- a statement from a Registered Medical Practitioner or Registered Psychologist verifying their gender
If you are asked to provide evidence of your patient’s gender, you may write a statement on your letterhead. For example:
I, (your name) have a clinician/patient relationship with (patient’s name) and have reviewed and evaluated (patient’s name) history.
(name of patient) identifies as the gender of ___________.
You don’t need to use the exact words above for a statement to be valid evidence of gender. However, it must include your:
- signature block
- registration number from the Medical Board of Australia or Psychology Board of Australia (or equivalent overseas authority)
Your patient may choose to use this statement as evidence to establish or change their gender in personal records held by Australian Government departments and agencies.
Read more about the:
- Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender on the Attorney-General’s Department website
- Privacy Act 1988 including Australian Privacy Principles on the Federal Register of Legislation website - this legislation regulates the handling of personal information about individuals. This includes the collection, use, storage and disclosure of personal information, and access to and correction of that information
- Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (including Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identify and Intersex Status) Bill 2013) on the Federal Register of Legislation website - this legislation protects individuals from unfair treatment on the basis of their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status, marital or relationship status, pregnancy and breastfeeding