Greens stand first "intersex" candidate in Australia

Classification: News

Tony Briffa of AISSG (Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome Support Group) Australia will be the nation's first openly intersex candidate in the November 10 poll, the Greens announced on October 19. Mr Briffa, a 31-year-old maintenance engineer with Ansett, will stand in the Melbourne seat of Lalor, which the Labor Party's Julia Gillard holds by a margin of 19.8 per cent.

Tony Briffa of AISSG (Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome Support Group) Australia will be the nation's first openly intersex candidate in the November 10 poll, the Greens announced on October 19. Mr Briffa, a 31-year-old maintenance engineer with Ansett, will stand in the Melbourne seat of Lalor, which the Labor Party's Julia Gillard holds by a margin of 19.8 per cent.

Mr Briffa was born with an intersex physical condition but was surgically altered (castrated) and raised to fit what he says was society's notion of a female. As a teenager he felt uncomfortable living as a female and has recently recognised his true gender by living as a male.

The Greens said in a statement today that they already had the distinction of electing Australia's first openly gay man (Bob Brown in Tasmania in 1983) and Australia's first openly lesbian parliamentarian (Giz Watson MLC in Western Australia in 1996).

Mr Briffa said he did not think that the Greens were exploiting his condition to gain attention and he was a legitimate candidate. "I would like to think it is promoting awareness," Mr Briffa told AAP. "I am happy to help the intersex cause, but I am a local of Lalor, have always lived in the area and my parents live in the area."

Mr Briffa said he was relatively well known in Lalor and people were very accepting of his intersex condition.

He said Lalor was not necessarily being served well because it was a safe Labor seat. He hoped to represent to the electorate alternative policies on health, education, the environment, human rights and industrial relations.

Mr Briffa said he did not support Australia taking part in military action in Afghanistan or elsewhere in that region and favoured "a United Nations response".

He conceded his chances of winning Lalor were slim and he would be happy if he attracted four per cent of the vote.