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. J.B.B.

    Message to NAH ... you need to chill out! But I don't care whether you do or not ...

    September 15, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nah

      j.b.: "Message to NAH ... you need to chill out! But I don't care whether you do or not ..."

      k.

      September 15, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. @Nah @What?

    You know nothing. Shut up.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nah

      @: "You know nothing. Shut up."

      And you may be right. However, merely saying I'm wrong, without proving it, isn't going to help you.

      Care to actually respond to what I posted?

      September 15, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah

      I've read everything you have said, and it looks as if it is nothing more than your own opinion.....so I have to agree; you know nothing about this subject.

      September 15, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nah

      blah: "I've read everything you have said, and it looks as if it is nothing more than your own opinion.....so I have to agree; you know nothing about this subject."

      Sorry, but conclusory statements can't stand as proof of a fact. Please show how and why I'm wrong.

      September 15, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Chris

    Dude whose hand is in the picture needs to quit smoking.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • AthensGuy

      not cigarrette caused. It is the natural skin color. Look at the nails, they are clean

      September 15, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah

      Nope; that's nicotine!

      September 15, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. @evolutionism

    Being gay has nithing to do with transgenderism.
    Shut up.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. @evolutionism

    They go through years of counseling before, moron, and they may continue after, but for the most part, they discontinue it. Again, shut up.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Steve

    It's really nice that your country allows you to feel good about the gender (or non-specifity of such) on your passport – but how often are passports used within your own counrty? I'm curious – what happens when somebody with gender "X" tries to travel to another country that might not be so enlightened? Flat-out refusal of entry for any reason is entirely within the rights of any sovereign nation.

    Personally, I couldn't care less if you identify yourself as a man, woman, X, or anything else – that's your business. But have fun limiting your experiences of other places in the world, cultures, etc to just a handful of places just because you want to feel good about what a little booklet says about you...

    September 15, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vive

      Steve, even without that X choice there are countries I would avoid. If I would feel unsafe and unwelcome somewhere, I'll just stay away (For example, Arabian countries....beautiful scenery, art, food and music...but they dislike everything LGBT related.Fine with me ^^)

      September 15, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Vive

    I am not Australian, and I dislike being a 'special case' so I would be a bit annoyed with the X choice actually. Sometimes politcal correctness or good intentions aren't always the best choice for a law because even in a minority people have different opinions. So, no, it might work for some transgendered individuals but for others its exactly the opposite of what they want for whatever reason (An FtM or an MtF who now live life as a man or woman wouldnt want to have that 'X" unless they have to)

    September 15, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. The "christian moral majority" hard-right fundamentalists are NOT what the seem to be.

    As these bible-thumbing hard-right wing "christian" fundamentalists preach fire and brimstone, behind the scenes these powerful men have been getting old-foundation laws regarding sodomy and abortion overturned. It is THESE men who have been lobbying congress to change our laws. Why? To lure LBGT out into the open where they can be seen. For the day when these laws are reversed once again...and every single one of you will be thrown into Homeland Security prisons already being built for YOU...NOT the 10s of thousands of "terrorists" they said they were being built for. The joke will be on YOU who are and side-with those who violate the very laws of nature...even accomplices are guilty.You'll be working your ass off in one of these corporate-backed prisons already built, filled with non-violent offenders who will be released to make room for the sodomites. ABORTION will once again be illegal...and punishable by a life-sentence slaving in prison for the rest of your lives for murdering even your own kid.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • David Daniels

      That's the most bugged out crap I've heard in long time.

      September 15, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nah

      Is your anti-religious bigotry so entrenched that you can't help but go on vitriolic diatribes against conservatives and religion in every article?

      Stop being a troll.

      September 15, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      You know, not to actually agree with right wing Christian fundies, but that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Not once has the USA ever introduced a criminal law that was retroactive. So even if gays all came out, and sodomy was suddenly illegal again, they couldn't get in trouble for having done it in the past. They'd still have to get caught red-handed... err, or would that be brown-wanged?

      September 15, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jo

      I'm a lefty through and through but that was weird.

      September 15, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah

      Ya gotta love a good conspiracy theory....next it'll be the CIA that's behind it.....LMFAO!!!!!

      September 15, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • merlinblack

      holy crap you're a loony.

      September 15, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. The "christian moral majority" hard-right fundamentalists are NOT what the seem to be.

    @Brooke...we all know this. It goes without being said that when sodomy was illegal(it still is in the military btw) the laws included men who butt raype even their own wives. Bice try though.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. KenX

    How about an "I dont know" option?

    September 15, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ArizonaYankee

    PC crapola, what else to expect from a rookie prime minister.....

    September 15, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Vive

    Oh and don't worry Nah, if you were to actually meet,talk and lunch with someone with genderdysphoria you'd realize we're just as boring and human as you are

    September 15, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Keksi

    Australia legalized X-men.

    September 15, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. AthensGuy

    how about just stop inputting gender in passports?

    September 15, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Me

    Wouldn't it be more appropiate to use ? instead of x...

    September 15, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
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