Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Australia’s Supreme Court has unanimously approved the recognition of a neutral third gender, deeming the requirement that individuals identify only as male or female as unconstitutional. The ruling states that individuals dealing with government agents can legally describe their gender as neutral, essentially overturning a long held edict that stated that gender was a “binary” concept that only includes an option for male or female only, individuals will now be able to identify as “non-specific” when asked to indicate a gender. The court stated in its decision that it is discriminatory to not allow individuals who do not fit a traditional concept of gender the same access to social and governmental services as males and females simply because they the government does not recognize their gender identity. The decision, the most sweeping of its kind, brings the debate on how fluid gender identity and sex is in this modern world, individuals feel like the traditional concepts and roles attributed to femininity and masculinity don’t apply to them and they are creating new and varied sexual or asexual identities that they feel encompasses who they feel they are, not necessarily what biology identifies them as. This decision is a step in the right direction, towards inclusion and not discrimination. I thought this story really spoke to the heart of the readings we have been completing in this class, these individuals who feel they do not identify with traditional gender roles have had to endure the constant societal and familial pressures to conform to an idea of masculinity or femininity that starts at birth when your biological sex is announced. And despite the pressure that these individuals encounter, and despite the fact that it may be easier to simply give in and conform, they have not given up the belief that their “gender” has nothing to do with biological determination. The decision legitimizes politically the concept that gender is self-realized, that it is a fluid concept that is determined not just genetically, but psychologically, emotionally, and socially. I included the link to the story below:***************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

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