[JURIST] The High Court of Australia [official website] ruled [text] on Wednesday that a person can be legally recognized as gender neutral. "Norrie," who was born male but underwent a "sex affirmation procedure" in 1989, sought to be officially categorized as gender "non specific." Though the NSW Regisry of Birth, Deaths, and Marriages [official website] initially granted the request, it later revoked [Telegraph report] that decision, leading to a number of appeals by Norrie. The High Court ultimately settled the matter, holding that the Birth, Deaths, and Marriages Registration Act of 1995 [text] recognizes that a person may be neither male nor female and permits a registration of "non-specific."
The rights and identity of transgender individuals has been a topic of debate throughout the world recently and remains controversial in many countries. In February an appeals court in Texas vacated [JURIST report] a lower court ruling that invalidated the marriage of a transgender woman. Earlier that month Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] accused [JURIST report] European countries of violating the human rights of those who seek to change their legal gender. In January the Supreme Court of Maine [official website] ruled [JURIST report] that a local school violated the state's Human Rights Act [text] when it refused to allow a transgender fifth-grader to use the girls bathroom. In November Privacy for All Students [advocacy website] petitioned [JURIST report] the state of California to repeal a law designed to protect transgender public school students. That same month, the US Senate [official website] approved [JURIST report] the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) [text], which outlaws workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.