I’ve taken to reading The Economist a bit lately. I don’t know exactly why. But i do get a fascinating picture of what’s going on in the world that feels like it’s largely unbiased, if not surprisingly humanitarian in its focus. Novel idea.
Anyway, there was a fascinating article in it about the definition of a gender. Prompted by the ghastly handling of the South African runner, Caster Semenya the article talks about the lack of definition of a gender in most countries documents of policy, and that the only country to mention it in any kind of report was Australia:
“A rare exception is in Australia, where a Human Rights Commission report in March 2009 recommended that adults should be abllowed to register their sex as “unspecified” on documents such as passports.”
How’s about that?! seems that Australian advisors and policy makers are up there with the Germans and Austrians (who have decreed that surgery is not a prerequist for sex-change). They have recognised that the diversity and openness of gender identification is to be preserved, that it is ultimately bound up in choice – orientation, perhaps – and not necessarily science.
It reminded me of Lesly Turnbull‘s Tomboys series (and the awful policy in Malaysia which outlaws tomboy behaviour) and i almost felt a little bit of pride for our struggling little society here – given our mucho conservativo history here.
Now, if we can just sort out the gender stereotypes that happen in the media here…sigh. Wouldn’t that be nice.