Blow for non-binary folks – Norrie’s ‘ungendered’ status withdrawn

norrieThe Sydney Morning Herald reports that the New South Wales Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages has withdrawn the birth certificate they had granted to Norrie May-Welby, stating “Sex Not Specified”.

It says it cancelled Norrie’s “recognised details certificate” after receiving legal advice it was invalid.

“When I got the call on Tuesday I was absolutely devastated. I felt like I had been killed,” Norrie told AAP on Thursday.

“My identity has gone all over the world … (now the) attorney-general’s taking back what they sold to me.

Norrie made history several weeks ago when the State of NSW granted the certificate. This was hailed all over the world as a step forward for people of non-binary or fluid gender – check out the posts at Gender Across Borders, Questioning Transphobia, The Scavenger, Jezebel, Pink News, and BoingBoing.

To add insult to injury, Norrie is now going to have a job of work ahead changing details at various agencies and companies:

After receiving the ungendered certificate, Norrie visited the bank, Centrelink and the Roads and Traffic Authority to update their details.

“They all said they didn’t know how to put it (gender unspecified) into their computers, but they all agreed to do it and to have a word to their computer programmers,” Norrie said.

You can read Norrie’s blog at, and keep up with recent events here on Facebook.

Australians, especially those in NSW: You can write to the Human Rights Commission and the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board, with a copy to the NSW Attorney-General. But act quickly – Norrie is laying a formal complaint against the NSW government at 10 am tomorrow morning (with accompanying press call) at the Australian Human Rights Commission, 133 Castlereagh St, Sydney.

Categories: gender & feminism

Tags: , , ,

9 replies

  1. Geez, you would think they would have at least checked the ‘legalities’ of it all BEFORE they issued the new certificate… talk about incompetancy…

  2. That’s really horrible. I’m not in NSW, but is there any way to register a complaint, or let the powers-that-be know that people are angry about this?

  3. Complaint was actually laid this morning, norrie posted the wrong date on the original entry. Zie’s still encouraging people to write those letters, though, and there may be more protest action in future. And Kim, EVERYONE should write… norrie got global coverage that was overwhelmingly positive for seeking out official gender recognition, and if the NSW AG is so damn bothered by that, he better be prepared to hear about it.
    Thanks for covering this… norrie’s an absolute powerhouse, and it’s a shit to see something that was such a step forward be undone by conservative old fuckwits.

  4. This is a real shame. I was so pleased for Norrie when zie was able to get the non-gender-indication zie wanted.

    Why on earth is gender-indication needed anyway?

  5. Action needs to be taken to ensure that genderqueer and nongendered people are recognized and not forced into the binary system.

  6. Hmmm, a bit suspicious that it was retracted after Norrie was in the paper. I was thinking how great it was that finally zie could be recognised and then this yesterday. Why does it matter so much to people what other people think of themselves as?

  7. @Mindy: From what I’ve read, the AG isn’t hiding the fact that the media was a factor. Oh, you can have your pesky human rights, but you better stay quiet about it or we’ll take them away again!
    Aaaaaand… petition! Please spread it around:

  8. Good grief, words fail me. I don’t understand why they would do that… they should have got the story straight before issuing the first one!

  9. The NSW Attorney General’s department has breached the rule of law in purporting to retrospectively invalidate my Recognition of Details Certificate after the Registry wrote to me stating that the matter was “approved and finalised”. If they are allowed to invalidate certification certified as “approved and finalised”, then there is no guarantee that any certification they make is not subject to review by the public opinion of the moment, or by each and very contrary legal opinion gathered after the event. The NSW Attorney General is by its own example encouraging the abandonment of law and order.

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