Discussing sex at work can be a costly business: Translating the science, language and law behind M v A & U (2007) QADT 8...

Gurney, Karen 2007, Discussing sex at work can be a costly business: Translating the science, language and law behind M v A & U (2007) QADT 8..., Queensland University of Technology law and justice journal, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 198-208.

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Title Discussing sex at work can be a costly business: Translating the science, language and law behind M v A & U (2007) QADT 8...
Author(s) Gurney, Karen
Journal name Queensland University of Technology law and justice journal
Volume number 7
Issue number 2
Start page 198
End page 208
Publisher QUT Publications
Place of publication Kelvin Grove, Qld.
Publication date 2007
ISSN 1445-6230
Summary On 16 March 2007, in the matter of M v A & U [2007] QADT 8, the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal of Queensland found that a complaint of discrimination in the supply of goods and services had been made out by the complainant on two grounds: her female sex and lawful sexual activity. The decision would have been quite unremarkable except that ‘M’, as the complainant was known for the purposes of the hearing, is a woman of difference, one who had unusually arrived at her legal female state by completing the sex reassignment process now more commonly described as ‘sex affirmation’.

This article seeks to elaborate on the language and law of transsexualism used by the Tribunal. Its aim is to enhance practitioners’ understanding of the legal and social issues peculiar to those who affirm a sex opposite that first assigned to them so that those practitioners may better interpret the law to their clients. As the instant decision shows, the failure by an employer to take reasonable steps to avoid infringing the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld), either on its own part or by the actions of its employees, can prove a costly business indeed.

The author offers a brief synopsis of the current medical viewpoint regarding transsexualism and reviews recent Australian legal developments in the jurisprudence. She reminds practitioners that the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld) has since been further strengthened by the inclusion of ‘gender identity’ as a protected attribute, and concludes by proposing the existence of a heightened duty on the part of practitioners to ensure business clients are aware of the full extent of their legal obligations to not discriminate against employees or clients.
Language eng
Field of Research 180103 Administrative Law
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30007719

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Business and Law
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