August 19, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Two women who consider themselves men have won the legal recognition of their "masculinity," reports ABC News in Australia.
The two women, who have undergone mastectomies and testosterone treatment, believe that even though they still have female reproductive systems, their outward demeanor and hormone regimens make them men.
The two so-called "transgenders," whose identities have been legally suppressed, applied for a change of sex in 2008 to the Gender Reassignment Board in Western Australia, who initially denied the women their request due to the fact that they still had female reproductive organs.
The Gender Reassignment Act of 2000 states in section 15.1.b that the board will assign a new gender to the person if the person "believes that his or her true gender is the gender to which the person has been reassigned" and "has adopted the lifestyle and has the gender characteristics of a person of the gender to which the person has been reassigned." Also, the person must receive counseling for the gender change.
The State Administrative Tribunal ruled, however, that the Reassignment Act did not specify that reproductive surgery was needed for a gender reassignment and thus granted the two women legal recognition as men.
One of the women, commenting on the case, said "It means that it opens up lots of opportunities for lots of other people who until now have never tried to get their sex legally changed because they didn't think they'd be able to."
This case is not the first time that an Australian court has ruled that physical sex is not the determination of gender.
In 2001, in a case known as Re Kevin, the Family Court of Australia ruled that a woman who had undergone surgery to make herself look like a man could get married to another woman. That case set a legal precedent that has been reaffirmed in this most recent case, that gender is not essentially biological, but rather psychological.
According to the court files, the judge "rejected what he called an essentialist view of sexual identity that individuals have some basic essential quality that makes them male or female."
Further, the court files expressed the opinion of the court when they said, "that the task of the law was not to search for some mysterious entity, the person's 'true sex', but to give an answer to a practical human problem, that is, to determine the sex in which it is best for the individual to live."
Thus, later in the case, the judge, Justice Richard Chisholm, ruled that the "brain sex" of a person should be a determining factor in their state recognized gender.
Noting that transexualism is not considered a disorder, the court concluded, "There is no reason to exclude the psyche as one of the relevant factors in determining sex and gender."
However, Babette Francis, leader of the Endeavor Forum, a pro-life, pro-family group located in Australia, has for years fought the increasingly popular myth that objective gender can be altered merely by wishing it to be or through hormone treatments and mutilating surgery.
In an article entitled ""Is Gender a Social Construct or a Biological Imperative?" she writes, "Biological sex is not determined by external organs but by genetic structure."
"Every cell of the human body is clearly marked male or female," she points out, "and the human brain, which is the primary sex organ, is masculinized or feminized in the fetal stage of development by the presence or absence of testosterone."