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In 2013, the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 was amended to introduce new protections from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status in many areas of public life.

These legal protections are complemented by the Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender, which commenced in July 2013. The guidelines recognise that individuals may identify as a gender other than the sex they were assigned at birth, or may not identify as exclusively male or female, and that this should be reflected in records held by the government. The guidelines also standardise the evidence required for a person to change their sex/gender in personal records held by Australian Government departments and agencies.

The guidelines apply to all Australian Government departments and agencies that maintain personal records (including employee records), and/or collect sex and/or gender information. The guidelines commenced on 1 July 2013, and were updated in November 2015. Australian Government departments and agencies are to progressively align their existing and future business practices with the guidelines by 1 July 2016.

If you have specific questions that are not answered here, please address them to the Human Rights Unit at sexandgender@ag.gov.au.