Trans

Transgender People are protected from discrimination by law


People who are transgender are protected from discrimination by law.

The Sex Discrimination Act makes it unlawful to treat a person less favourably than another person in a similar situation because of the gender-related identity, appearance, mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics of the person.

Example: A shop assistant refused to serve a person who identifies and presents as a woman because that person has a deep and masculine-sounding voice.

The Act makes discrimination against the law in many areas of public life including employment, education, getting or using services or renting or buying a house or unit. There are some limited exemptions.

What is the Sex Discrimination Act?

The Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) (the SDA) makes it against the law to treat you unfairly because of your: sex; gender identity; intersex status; sexual orientation; marital or relationship status (including same-sex de facto couples); family responsibilities; because you are pregnant or might become pregnant; because you are breastfeeding.

The SDA also makes sexual harassment against the law.

When can this law be used?

You can use the SDA to get fair treatment in:

Employment – getting a job, terms and conditions of a job, training, promotion, being dismissed.

Education – enrolling or studying in a course at a private or public school, college or university.

Accommodation – renting or buying a house or unit.

Getting or using services – such as banking and insurance services, services provided by government departments, transport services, professional services like those provided by lawyers, doctors or tradespeople, services provided by restaurants, shops or entertainment venues.What is sex discrimination?

Sex discrimination happens when a person is treated less favourably than a person of a different sex would be treated in the same or similar circumstances. For example, it may be direct sex discrimination if male employees are paid more than employees of a different sex who are doing the same work.

Discrimination also happens when there is a rule or policy that is the same for everyone but has an unfair effect on people of a particular sex. This is called indirect discrimination. For example, it may be indirect discrimination if a policy says that managers must work full-time, as this might disadvantage women, who are more likely to need to work part-time due to responsibilities for caring for children.

What is gender identity discrimination?

Gender identity discrimination happens when a person is treated less favourably because of that person’s gender-related identity, appearance or mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics of the person. It does not matter what sex a person was assigned at birth or whether the person has undergone any medical intervention.

Direct gender identity discrimination happens when a person is treated less favourably than a person with a different gender identity would be treated in the same or similar circumstances. For example, it may be direct gender identity discrimination if a shop-assistant refused to serve a person who identifies and presents as a woman but has a deep masculine sounding voice because she felt uncomfortable about that person’s gender identity.

Indirect gender identity discrimination occurs when there is a requirement or practice that is the same for everyone but has an unfair effect on people of a particular gender identity. For example, it may be indirect discrimination if an organisation’s human resources policies do not permit changes to an employee’s records. Such a policy may require a transgender woman to continually disclose information about her gender identity in order to explain discrepancies in personal details.

What is intersex status discrimination?

Intersex status discrimination happens when a person is treated less favourably because that person has physical, hormonal or genetic features that are:

a combination of female and male; or

neither wholly female nor wholly male; or

neither female nor male.

Direct intersex status discrimination happens when a person is treated less favourably than a person who is not intersex would be treated in the same or similar circumstances. For example, it may be direct discrimination for a physiotherapist to refuse to treat an intersex person because the person’s biological characteristics make the physiotherapist uncomfortable.

Indirect intersex status discrimination occurs when there is a requirement or practice that is the same for everyone but has an unfair effect on people who are intersex. For example, a policy that says that certain medical treatments, such as treatment for ovarian cancer, is only appropriate for women may disadvantage an intersex man who has male and female sex characteristics.

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