Tag Archives: biological determinism

Thinking Outside of the Box: Gender Trouble in Australia and the Netherlands

On 13 September Human Rights Watch released the report Controlling Bodies, Denying Identities: Human Rights Violations Against Trans People in the Netherlands in which they argue that article 28 of the Dutch Civil Code violates the human rights of transgender people. According to Human Rights Watch, article 28 of the Dutch Civil Code does so because it requires transgender people to take hormones, undergo surgery and to be permanently and irreversibly sterilised before they can have their gender recognised on official legal documents.

A similar issue concerning gender identity and legal documentation became apparent in Australia in 2010 when the Sydney Morning Herald published an article about the then 48-year-old Norrie May-Welby from Sydney. Born with male sexual characteristics, May-Welby underwent hormone treatments and surgery for twenty-five years to be able to live a life as a woman, but now wanted to go through life genderless. Although the state New South Wales provided May-Welby with documentation that granted her this status, the local authorities later claimed that they could only issue documents that mention gender as being male or female.May-Welbie decided to put forward a complaint to the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations. Continue reading