THE need for a national approach to legal recognition of ''genderless'' people - who identify as neither male nor female - will be raised by the NSW Attorney-General, John Hatzistergos, at a meeting of his state and territory counterparts in Canberra tomorrow.
The issue was highlighted in the Herald in March through the story of Norrie, a genderless Sydneysider who has battled the state bureaucracy for the right to be recorded as ''sex not specified'' on official documents.
Norrie, who was born in Scotland, became the first person in NSW to be neither man nor woman in the eyes of the state government after he was issued with a Recognised Details Certificate containing the notation.
It was issued after two doctors agreed that Norrie, who was born male but had gender reassignment surgery and now prefers not to identify as either sex, was physically and psychologically androgynous.
But the certificate - which may be provided by the Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages to immigrants who have changed their sex and want it recorded - was later ruled invalid.
''The case of Norrie earlier this year highlighted that some people wish to identify as having an unspecified sex," Mr Hatzistergos said.
He noted that a report last year by the Australian Human Rights Commission recommended that an adult should be allowed to choose to have an unspecified sex recorded on official documents and records.
''This is a very complex area of social policy with very significant legal and practical implications on a national scale,'' he said.
A ''sex not specified'' classification could potentially raise difficulties for governments in areas such as marriage, which is defined in legislation as being between a man and a woman.
Other areas for discussion may include placement in aged care, hospital rooms, emergency refuges and prison, as well as the issue of security protocols such as body searches.
Norrie, who welcomed the move to raise the issue at the meeting, has lodged an appeal against the decision of the registry with the Administrative Decisions Tribunal and expects a decision within months.