Sex and Gender Education (SAGE), Australia, was formed in 2001 to campaign for the social and legal rights of sex and/or gender diverse (SGD) people.
Over the years it has successfully lobbied and helped change many laws to give greater human rights and respect for these groups of people, as well as making public comment.
SAGE was started by two people:
Dr Tracie O’Keefe DCH, BHSc, ND, a clinical psychotherapist and sex therapist who specialises in working with SGD groups of people. Tracie is an intersex and trans woman who has been involved in SGD advocacy for several decades.
The co-founder was longtime SGD campaigner and activist Norrie May-Welby who went on to win a case in the High Court of Australia to become the first person in the world to recognised as Sex Non-Specific, neither male nor female.
SAGE is an informal network of people. It is run on a voluntary, not-for-profit basis, by Tracie O’Keefe of the Australian Health and Education Centre (part of O’Keefe & Fox Industries Pty Ltd) in Sydney.
Over the years SAGE’s work has been supported by former Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and Malcom Turnbull, Senator Tanya Plibersek, Senator Lee Rhiannon, Senator Anthony Albanese, Senator Warren Entsch, Sylvia Hale, MP, David Shoebridge, MP, Mark Pearson, MP, Professor Alfred Steinbeck, Professor Kerryn Phelps, Clover Moore (Lord Mayor of Sydney) and many more supportive individuals.
SAGE TEAM MEMBERS
Dr Tracie O’Keefe DCH, BHSc, ND
Tracie is an intersex and trans woman who is a clinical hypnotherapist, psychotherapist, sex therapist and naturopath, originally from the UK. She is a member of the Psychotherapy And Counselling Federation of Australia (College of Psychotherapy), Australian Hypnotherapists Association, and Australian Society of Sex Educators, Researchers and Therapists.
She has worked with thousands of people from sex and/or gender diverse groups. For the past 48 years, since she was a young, trans and intersex teenager, she has been involved in campaigning for the rights of LGB and SGD groups of people, including working with Press for Change in its campaigns for the rights of trans people in the UK.
For more than 25 years Tracie has been in private practice, in London and Sydney, including running her Sex and Gender Identity Clinics, is a passionate researcher, educator and social justice advocate. She has advocated for sex and/or gender diversity not being treated as a psychiatric condition in adults and children.
She is the author of the books Trans-X-U-All: The Naked Difference (XPP, 1997), Sex, Gender & Sexuality: 21st Century Transformations (XPP, 1999), co-editor of Finding the Real Me: True Tales of Sex and Gender Diversity (Jossey Bass, 2003) and co-editor of Trans People in Love (Routledge, 2008)
Norrie was born in Scotland in 1961. They were brought with their family to Perth Western Australia in 1969 on a ten pound fare, part of a colonial scheme to “Keep Australia White”, but the sand in Perth looked pretty black to Norrie.
Norrie commenced transsexual hormone treatment in 1985, moved to Sydney in 1988, and had genital realignment surgery there in 1989.
As a modern thinking woman, Norrie began questioning the social norms of gender and sex and their policing, and co-wrote a series on gender/transgender for the Sydney Star Observer in 1991.
Through being exposed to post- modern deconstructionism, learning about the existence of human hermaphrodism through Anne Faust-Sterling’s “Five Sexes”, and digesting Susan Stryker’s “My words to Victor Frankenstein…”, Norrie’s own gender identity shifted somewhat.
Norrie now views their physical body as a beautiful eunuch, their soul as hermaphrodite, their social gender as mostly “woman” and sometimes more or less, and nothing human
Conor is a trans man and transexed identified. He has been actively living in the lesbian-queer community since 1977, been a socialist all his adult life and is currently an active member of the Parramatta West branch of the Socialist Alliance.
Conor was the trans spokesperson for CAAH Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH), and has been involved in the equal marriage campaign since 2004.
Grace is a post-trans woman with experience in community support and counselling. At present she lives in Queensland. She is an active member of her communities, currently works in IT and won a landmark court case which awarded her a female passport despite being married (prior to surgery) to another woman.
She hopes more people take advantage of this precedent so we can illustrate how unworkable and unfair current discriminatory legislation really is, and push for change and equality.
Grace does public speaking, guest-lecture spots and runs workshops on sex and gender, workplace diversity, GLBTI issues and other stuff. She hopes to study psychology, work for social justice and travel.
She describes herself as a secular humanist. She is active in the GLBTI and BDSM communities.
Zoe is an actual rocket scientist. She’s also a naval combat system architect, parent of a young man, pure mathematician, and PhD candidate doing research on Evolutionary Computation.
She transitioned in 2005, not in quite the normal way, and the medics are split as to whether Zoe is more accurately classified as an intersexed woman with a transsexual past, or a transsexual woman with a unique endocrine system. Zoe prefers to be regarded as a “Woman with a Past”.
Zoe blogs profusely on neuroscience, transsexual human rights, and science in general, and in her spare time, does some amateur research on neurology, intersex conditions, and transsexuality from a cognitive/computational science rather than a psychological/therapeutic viewpoint.
Zoe also gives talks and lectures to medical students, students of gender, diversity counsellors, and anyone else who’s interested, trying to put a human face on the subject.
Stefanie owns her own architectural consulting company and has had a hand in documenting such projects as the Myer Department Store and Coles Building in Pitt St Mall in Sydney, The Family Law Courts of Australia, and a number of hotels, train stations and airport terminals.
Stefanie very nearly transitioned at 21. After many years in denial, she finally did so aged 40, when she gained the strength to be herself, after the horrific events during the week of September 11. Her transition has been very successful with acceptance across the board.
She wrote an essay, “Transitioning on the Job”, which was featured in the Sydney Gender Centre’s Polare Magazine (Edition 68). In 2009 Stefanie won her campaign with the Australian government to the right for trans people to have correct passports and paperwork, reflecting how they present to the world.
Rhiannon’s personal aim is to set in motion processes that will rid Australia of gender controlling structures, to place people on an equal footing so that they are not judged and victimised because of their gender, to get to a state where people will no longer have to suffer with broken lives, broken marriages, internal torment, substance abuse and guilt, just because the way they look, dress and act does not conform to a society-stamped gender standard.
Rhiannon spent most of her life, as is the case with so many people, tormented and self-abusive trying darn hard to fit into a world which had rules she found hard to conform to unless she forced herself to be someone she was not.
She has grown in recent times to become more of who she is and encompass who she really should be and not grab another label off the shelf and run with it.
For a number of years Rhiannon managed the SAGE website.