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. luke

    get me a butcher knife im going to become an X

    September 15, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. leeintulsa

    The uniforms were very sharp.

    September 15, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Malik

    Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

    September 15, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. luke


    September 15, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. o.k.

    Can Generation X sue for trademark infringement?

    September 15, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. nom de guerre

    lets hope the British-Australia gov goes 1 step further and identify all the racist anglo Australians in their passports – if this were to happen nearly 70 per cent of all anglo-australian passport holders would have to be amended to reflect the true racist status of the bearer

    Australia – the most racist british infected nation on the planet, even the prime minister is a BOAT POM!

    September 15, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe, Louisville, KY

      are you black cobber? g'day mate

      September 15, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. analytical reasoner

    They disqualify the religion but not the men of religion. We know them by name;Barack Obama and George W. Bush. Yet these two examples of religious men seldom see see the hateful slurrs hurled at the ones who voted for them. The reasoning capacity of the ridiculers must be flawed, for they themselves are doing what they accuse the hypocrites of. It is not just the religious who are the gay nor the molester. Gay molesters flourish among all, not just the church. Who really is the hypocrite? He is the one brave enough to bare all for the man even while pointing the finger at the religion...but not at these two men of religion. Most all voted for them at one time or another. And so the finger would be pointing in the the hypocrite.

    September 15, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Shauna

    God everyone wants to be a special snowflake cant even settle on being male or female. *shakes head in disappointment of the human race*

    September 16, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • phung shway

      The human race was messed up long before this happened.

      September 27, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
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