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B55/1993 SEX REASSIGNMENT SURGERY
DATE OF ISSUE: 29 SEPTEMBER 1993
SEX REASSIGNMENT SURGERY
The purpose of this Departmental Instruction is to advise of a new policy for determining the sex of a person, for the purposes of the Veterans' Entitlements Act (VEA) 1986, in respect of a person who has undergone sex reassignment surgery.
2.A claim for partner's Service Pension was made by the male partner of a female veteran. Investigations revealed that the female veteran had served as a male and had undergone sex reassignment surgery.
3.The VEA requires that a partner be of the opposite sex and as the veteran's birth certificate showed male gender the claim was rejected. This decision was questioned by the claimant and the matter was referred to Policy Administration and Advice Section.
4.Research into developing the policy identified a majority decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal which found that where a person had undergone sex reassignment surgery, then for the purposes of paying Social Security Age Pension the sex of the client should be determined on the basis of the reassignment surgery.
5.A submission was prepared for Commission and on 18 May 1993 the Repatriation Commission determined that for the purposes of the VEA the gender of claimants may generally continue to be accepted as that shown on the birth certificate. However, in cases where the claimant has undergone sexual reassignment surgery, the gender shown on the birth certificate may no longer be appropriate for determining the sex. In these cases the following policy will apply.
6.Where the claimant wishes to be considered as other than the gender shown on their birth certificate they must provide documentary evidence of their reassignment. Such evidence regarding a claimant's new gender should be accepted for the purposes of the VEA where it complies with the following conditions:
Documentary evidence should -
provide evidence that the person has undergone the reassignment surgery,
state the person's new gender,
be signed by a medical practitioner registered to practice in Australia; and
state that the surgery was performed in an Australian hospital.
7.It is important to note that where the document is signed by a doctor not registered in Australia or the sexual gender reassignment surgery is performed in a hospital outside Australia, the decision is to be made by the Repatriation Commission. Any such cases should be sent to Policy Administration and Advice Section, Central Office.
8.The contact officer for enquiries regarding this policy is Felicity Hugg, Policy Administration and Advice Section, Central Office. Tel (06) 289 6446.
NATIONAL PROGRAM DIRECTOR