A man in Australia who claims to be neither a man nor a woman has been officially recognised by Australian authorities as ‘sexless’ on his birth certificate.
Norrie May-Welby, a British expat, was born a man but had a sex change operation in 1990 when he was 28.
However, after becoming unhappy as a woman he opted to become a ‘neuter’.
In 2010 officials in New South Wales (NSW) altered the Briton’s birth certificate to declare a new sex category, ‘not specified’, but the decision was later reversed.
But now three years on the man has won an appeals verdict in the NSW Supreme Court to be recognised as ‘sexless’ on his birth certificate in a landmark case.
NSW Supreme Court ruled that people do not have to legally specify if they are male or female but could select a third sex category stating ‘non specific’ on official documents.
In 2011 new passport rules were introduced in Australia which allowed residents to identify their gender as male, female or indeterminate.
In the same year the UK Home Office said it was considering scrapping any mention of a person’s sex on passports for the sake of ‘transsexual equality’.
However, critics raised concern that such a move would place an undue burden on the UK Border Agency and there was confusion about how exactly the scheme would work.
Also in 2011 it was reported that parents in Canada had decided to raise a ‘genderless baby’ – in “a tribute to freedom and choice”.
Kathy Witterick and David Stocker already had two boys, Jazz and Kio, but with their third child, called Storm, they decided to keep the child’s sex a secret.
But Glenn Stanton, a family researcher, said the parents’ thinking was purely “storybook”.
Mr Stanton said “the parents want to opt into this kind of utopian idea that ‘oh we can just let our child be free'”, but added, “that is completely to misunderstand what it means to be human”.
In answer to a question on “gender neutrality”, Harold S. Koplewicz, a leading child psychiatrist, pointed out that “when kids are born they’re not a blank slate”, and they do actually have a male or female brain.