Tony Briffa (born Antoinette Briffa in Altona, Victoria) is an Australian-Maltese who has Partial Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome. Briffa is an independent councillor, and former mayor and deputy mayor in the City of Hobsons Bay, Victoria Briffa is considered the world’s first openly intersex mayor and public office-bearer.
Briffa was raised as a girl, then lived for a time as a man, and now chooses to live as both female and male. Briffa is one of the first people to be public about a chosen blank, indeterminate, birth certificate.
Tony Briffa was born with Partial Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, raised as a girl and castrated at age seven to impose that assigned sex of rearing. Speaking to a 2013 Senate of Australia inquiry into the Involuntary or coerced sterilisation of intersex people in Australia, Briffa describes how doctors “convinced my mother to approve me to be castrated”:
“I have a few pages here from my medical records…It says: ‘Mother now ready for gonadectomy.’ … The histology reports, which I will also tender, show that they were healthy testes. But there was no Family Court approval. If we are talking about coercion, doctors coerce families, parents, into believing by saying: ‘We need to remove these testes because it will make your child normal’… Of course, part of the whole sterilisation thing is that you have pretty big surgery and scars, so they are making you different! … [and surgery is] usually over the summer holidays, so your summers are spent in hospital”.
Tony Briffa is the world’s first openly intersex public mayor, and “the first known intersex public office-bearer in the Western world”, serving as Deputy Mayor of the City of Hobsons Bay, Victoria, between 2009 and 2011, and Mayor between 2011–2012. Briffa resigned as a local councillor on 14 February 2014, effective on the appointment of a successor how to tenderise a steak. In October 2016, Briffa was re-elected to Hobsons Bay City Council.
Tony Briffa has previously served as the President of the Genetic Support Network of Victoria. Briffa is now co-executive director of Organisation Intersex International Australia and vice-president of the Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome Support Group Australia; described as “the two leading groups advocating for the rights of intersex people in Australia”.
Norrie May-Welby is popularly regarded as the first person with an indeterminate birth certificate, and “non-specific” sex was awarded by the High Court of Australia in April 2014 on the basis of May-Welby’s failed sex affirmation surgery what does meat tenderizer do. However, Tony Briffa had previously obtained a birth certificate with a blank sex classification. Alex MacFarlane is believed to be the first. Speaking to the Senate hearing on intersex sterilisation in March 2013, Briffa said:
My birth certificate, from the state of Victoria, does not classify me as male or female. I have certainly had a female birth certificate, I had a male birth certificate at one stage and I have a blank birth certificate now. But we are hoping that one day in the future our birth certificates will actually be able to reflect papain as meat tenderizer, for those who want it, the way nature made us. If people feel female that is great, and if they feel male that is great, but there are also people like me: I just accept the way nature made me. I am happy for my birth certificate to say that I am both male and female. One day, hopefully, we will have that as well.
Briffa made the following statement: “I am very public about being born biologically partially female and partially male and that I was raised as a girl and lived as a woman until I was 30. I ask all my friends and colleagues to respect my sex as what nature made me; both female and male.” On his website Briffa posted:
“I feel very comfortable having accepted my true nature. I am not male or female, but both. I am grateful for the years I lived as a woman and the insight and experiences it gave me. I am still ‘Antoinette’ and have now also incorporated and accepted my male (‘Anthony’ or ‘Tony’) side. I feel whole. I’ll continue to live as Tony but I feel I am now at a point in my life where I can celebrate being different.”
He also added that now that he has come to accept the male part of himself, he is now using male pronouns however continue to identify as neither male or female.
Legal issues presented by Tony Briffa’s non-specific birth certificate mean that Briffa cannot lawfully marry in Australia. On 27 September 2013, Tony Briffa married Manja Sommeling in Dunedin, New Zealand. Organisation Intersex International Australia notes:
Tony was born in Victoria with Partial Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (PAIS), one of many intersex variations, and Tony’s birth certificate does not state a sex. Marriage in Australia is currently only permissible between a man and a woman
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, and Tony is not eligible.
Tony is able to marry in New Zealand because legislation providing marriage equality was passed earlier this year. Tony has had to declare an “indeterminate” gender for the purposes of today’s marriage.