Australian passports now offer gender option 'X' for intersex people
September 15th, 2011
10:32 AM ET

Australian passports now offer gender option 'X' for intersex people

In a move the Australian government hopes will help remove discrimination against intersex or transgender people, the country's passports will now offer three options: male, female and indeterminate, the government said Thursday.

"This initiative is in line with the Australian Government’s commitment to remove discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or sex and gender identity," according to the Australian Passport Office. "The policy removes unnecessary obstacles to recording a person’s preferred gender in their passport."

Those who do not identify themselves as male or female will no longer be required to check off the "M" or "F" box under gender, but instead will have the option of checking "X," according to the new passport rules.

“This amendment makes life easier and significantly reduces the administrative burden for sex and gender diverse people who want a passport that reflects their gender and physical appearance," Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said.

The office said birth certificates or citizen certificates won't need to be altered in order to have a new passport issued. And those who identify themselves as transgender will be able to choose their preferred gender so long as it is supported by a statement from a doctor.

"Sex reassignment surgery is not a prerequisite to issue a passport in a new gender," according to the Australian Passport Office. "A letter from a medical practitioner certifying that the person has had, or is receiving, appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition to a new gender, or that they are intersex and do not identify with the sex assigned to them at birth, is acceptable."

In the past, Australian citizens had to choose either male or female, and were able to make changes to their gender on the documents only if they had sex reassignment surgery. The United States made a similar change in 2010 that dropped the surgery requisite for transgender people. The United Kingdom also allows people to check a gender other than their gender at birth. In Canada, you can make a change only if you have had sex reassignment surgery. In New Zealand the decision is made by a family court ruling.

Australia's Attorney General Robert McClelland said he hoped the change in policy will alleviate some of the frustrations for intersex and transgender people.

"Most people take for granted the ability to travel freely and without fear of discrimination,” McClelland said in a statement. "This measure will extend the same freedoms to sex and gender diverse Australians. While it’s expected this change will only affect a handful of Australians, it’s an important step in removing discrimination for sex and gender diverse people."

soundoff (288 Responses)
  1. Carlton

    Mankind's wicked, decieved, and evil hearts. God creates you a certain way but you don't like it or think its right, so you redefine who you really are? Wow!!!

    September 15, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • ras

      So, i guess you walk streets without any clothing...since "god" created you naked :-)

      September 15, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hey You

      So all those brunettes that are now blondes are evil?

      September 15, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drito

      People have the free will to do anything they like. Letting a fairy tell dictate how you live your life is truly ignorant.

      September 15, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • MIchael

      Why is it those who proclaim the loudest how holier-than-thou they are from everyone else are always the most hate-filled people around? You, my dear sir, have no idea on what being a true Christian is all about.

      September 15, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • KJM1968

      Your god also created hermaphrodites.

      September 15, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChristianC

      To "Drito": speaking of "truly ignorant", could you explain what you mean by fairy "tell"?

      September 15, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nah

      It's amazing how gullible and stupid atheists are. They fall for these trolls every time.

      September 15, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom C

      So if God created your child with a cleft palate or a hole in his/her heart you wouldn't have these issues corrected? I know parents who had children with these problems, and I can't imagine how their kids would have turned out (and in one case, even survived) if they hadn't had these issues corrected early on.

      September 15, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sunflower

    Will people with these delineations on their passports be allowed into all countries???? I would suspect that some countries wouldn't allow this... for security purposes, if they needed to find the individual in an emergency, or after a crime, wouldn't they need to know what this person would "look" like? So they knew what to look for?

    September 15, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Donna

      You are afraid of being attacked by a feminine man dressed as a woman? Your comment is ridiculous.

      September 15, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • KJM1968

      Passports have photos.

      September 15, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Scott

    I can see the good intentions they are going with this, but if passports are meant to protect international borders, don't you think by establishing this 'Gender X' could pose potential dangers. Terrorist could be able to disguise themselves or have you, to gain entry into that or any other country for that matter. Australia is one of several countries that citizens do not require a Visa to visit the USA, the UK, and so on. Anyone capable of making these passports using 'gender x' in some way to travel/gain access, whether temporary or permanent, into countries of interest, be it Al Qeada or any terrorist group. I don't know, good intentions, but could backfire.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. lynn

    Excuse me while I vomit

    September 15, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rachel

      If you ever left your trailor park, you would meet real people who live in the world.

      September 15, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • lynn

      I see the real world all around me crumbling to pieces as people are so unhappy with what they were born with they have to change it. Hopefully they make gender X bathrooms. Enjoy hell all of you freaks

      September 15, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • jaime

      You see a world crumbling to pieces because you only see gender as a binary? There are bigger issues than this that will make the world crumble. My lady-dick is none of your business either, unless you want it.

      September 15, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • MIchael

      It's a safe bed, Lynn, you're about 30 pounds overweight and look like you haven't taken a shower since 1984 so excuse me while I vomit.

      September 15, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. No one Important...

    This is just going to get those people teased and not helped :/

    September 15, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Rachel

    Even Australia has overtaken the USA in human rights.... shame on America.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nah

      Human rights? What "human right" is involved in calling yourself male or female, when your physical makeup is opposed to your belief about your gender?

      If gender is intended to be an identifying factor, putting "Gender X" on a passport is useless. You may as well get rid of a gender identification altogether.

      September 15, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. The Joker

    Why ask for gender in the first place?
    It's just a bureacratic tic!

    September 15, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. RAS

    if you have a penis you're a man, if you have a uterus you're a woman! end of subject.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • KJM1968

      What happens when you are born with both? Happens everyday. Maybe you should learn something before making comments.

      September 15, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nah

      kjm: "What happens when you are born with both? Happens everyday. Maybe you should learn something before making comments."

      Ah, right. You do realize that exceptions don't prove the substance of the rule, right?

      Hermaphrodites are a special case. Most people are born with one set of genitals or another.

      Hence, your argument falls in on itself.

      September 15, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • KJM1968

      nah – so you are saying that hermaphrodites should not be allowed to have passports? You are an idiot.

      September 15, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jim

    Sad, sad SAD world we live in.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. No one Important...

    @Rachel...No not shame on America... It's called freedom 4 a reason... we have fine human rights... Australia just decided to change things up like everyone does once in a while :P duhh

    September 15, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. No one Important...

    Its sad I know that and im 14... -.-

    September 15, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. ChristianC

    Great progress! But it doesn't go far enough. What about "Martians" and "Little Green Men" ?

    September 15, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Ellen Degenirate

    Chaz had an operation silly goose, its called an addadicktome.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. taxed

    Were you born with a handle? Yes. No.

    September 15, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Dropbear

    So...this is for the people who can't figure out what's Down Under?

    September 15, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tea Party Express

      Best Post Ever

      September 15, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
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