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. dadguy

    X? I suppose to know the truth you have to get down under...


    September 15, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sparky

    So will there be M/F and X restrooms in public places?

    September 15, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joepub

      So, if it is an X bathroom; do you need urinals? Or, will only some need urinals? How does an X go to the toilet?

      September 15, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • LookOutBelow

      Joepub, the way it's done is to stand right above your head and then go. Works great for M, F, and X.

      September 15, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Antisocialite

    It has nothing to do with "hate," whatever that diluted word even means anymore. If a man believes he's really a woman, I don't hate him; I pity him because he evidently has a mental illness. So, perhaps this sort of thing could be justified by the same rationale as installing wheelchair ramps and braille signs in public buildings.

    Still, you probably would not "celebrate the diversity" of the paranoid schizophrenic raving about reptilians on the street corner nor put a kid with Down's syndrome in a quantum physics class as a gesture of "inclusion." So, why should society be obliged to go to great lengths in some absurd pantomime of playing along with a man's delusion that he's really a woman? I can only assume the medical establishment believes that mutilating these patients into a pitiful simulacrum of their funhouse-mirror self-image is the best therapy currently available; but that's between them and their doctors.

    Meanwhile, in the real world, while the voices in my head might tell me that I'm Vincent van Gogh, and I could even cut off my ear to prove it to you, that doesn't make it so.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimtom

      You don't need to try so hard to sound condescending on cnn. "It has nothing to do with "hate," whatever that diluted word even means anymore." Is hate some kind of joke to you? Is discrimination? Apparently, blind, paralyzed, transgender, Down's, and schizophrenic people are all the same to you. Weirdo's that society should shun. Thank god you can analyze the situation with such cool aloofness and scientific disdain.

      September 15, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nah

      jim: "Apparently, blind, paralyzed, transgender, Down's, and schizophrenic people are all the same to you."

      It's cute you ignore anti's entire argument and created a strawman instead.

      Dogmatic much?

      September 15, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy

      Best comment on this subject I've ever seen. Agree with you 110%.

      September 15, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Antisocialite

      Yes, the way people have robbed the word "hate" of any precision or emotive resonance through careless overuse has dulled its meaning and turned it into a joke, to the point that it is now largely a parody of itself.

      If there were a shelter for battered and abused words, "hate" would need to check in for an extended stay in a room right next to "fascism" and "hero."

      Indeed, people with blindness, paralysis, Down's syndrome, schizophrenia, and the "transgendered" are the same in the sense that they all have either mental or physical handicaps. The point is not to shun them, but to recognize that such handicaps are best served by medical treatment, to the extent that it's possible, not by pretending that they don't exist or by "celebrating" them in a fanciful, self-serving denial of reality.

      If I lost a lost a leg, I would rather that some cold, analytical scientist go about the business of recognizing my problem and building me a better prosthesis than society throw me a party and pretend there was nothing wrong with me so they could congratulate themselves for their boundless tolerance while I'm crawling on the ground.

      September 15, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimtom

      "If I lost a lost a leg, I would rather that some cold, analytical scientist go about the business of recognizing my problem and building me a better prosthesis." That is literally exactly what they're doing with transgender people, you just don't agree with it. The point is, in life you have no idea what anyone except yourself is experiencing. You don't know what any of these people are going through. So you shouldn't be so quick to judge. You call them handicapped. Obviously, you have never met one. They are trying to find happiness by being themselves. You should worry more about your own happiness, and less about that of others. Especially when it doesn't affect you in the slightest. And since when are they trying to get you to celebrate them? They want you to leave them the hell alone, and let them live just like any other person.

      September 15, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johan S

      Do you realize that being inters.ex can be a medical condition.
      So people don't have their s.ex organs properly formed due to a genetic condition. It's basic 8th grade biology.

      What I mean is a person can be born without say male or female organs .. or with parts of both etc.

      Males are supposed to have the Y chromosome. But sometimes the gender determination gene "SRY" can be found on the X chromosome due to translocation from the Y chromosome.. this can cause a person without a Y chromosome who would normally be female (XX) to have certain Male characteristics. There are also XX males who don't test positive for the SRY gen. Also, a person who is XY can have a defect in their SRY gene and not have male characteristics. Also the amount of male/female characteristics can be higher or lower depending on expression. And this is without even going into the fact that you can have multiple chromosome anomalies like XXY XYY etc.

      This is stuff I've dumbed down because you need an 8th grade level of biology to understand it .. so I doubt you idiot tea baggers can comprehend it. You will first have to know what a chromosome is. What a gene is, and what the X chromosome and Y chromosomes are.

      September 15, 2011 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bryan Rickard

    What the hell does this have to do with the topic? Take your soapbox elsewhere.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Samuel

    It is the decline of our civilization.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      I know, right? A checkbox on a form you fill out every 8 years will bring society to its knees. First we let people identify themselves however they want, next thing you know you have is fire hydrants raping puppies.

      September 15, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      i can't see how this will decrease discrimination. if it says m but your f, the only way to be discriminated is if someone knew. now you have an x instead of m or f, makes discrimination WAY easy!

      September 15, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sara Bean

    All I have to say to Gender X on a passport is Y?!

    September 15, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. KLS

    Austerity measures in government spending overseas needs to be re-evaluated. When the discrimination of a non-royal or non-wealthy child wishing to better themselves by enrolling in college is removed I will consider it money well spent.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature

    It is natural to become depressed concerning catostrophic events that mame and kill your friends and neighbors...the world-over these days. What's not natural is a dr. prescribing meds that alter this natural way of feeling. It's those who are not depressed about these things that need the meds. A naturally depressed person gets diagnosed as having some far-fetched disorder that can only be relieved with man-made drugs. Once addicted, the natural way of thinking becomes altered. America's way of thinking has been altered by mass drug abuse. Is that not why a person takes or is prescribed mind-altering drugs? America's sentiments towords sodomy and abortion were altered by drugs...passed on to even their own children who are fat and stupid now. Even after college they cannot compete with foreigners. They didn't "terk are jarbs" yer druggie parents altered way of thinking was passed on to you.(plus they bought stuff they couldn't afford, and now you will be paying for their debt with your future low-pay job)

    September 15, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lianne Drager

      And it wasn't nice of Mother Nature to fool with you.

      September 15, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leafonthewind

      "America's sentiments towords sodomy and abortion were altered by drugs" Really? What drugs were those? Too bad they don't make a drug that can cure your stupidity. Maybe someday, eh?

      September 15, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • SMH@You

      Throwing down the BS flag. For situational depression, these drugs are a giant help. Used as prescibed, they have helped thousands of people. If you are talking about using short-term therapy drugs long term, you might have something...but you are using labels that are neither useful or true. I suggest talking to a qualified professional to see why you have to inject your faulty knowledge into every thread.

      September 15, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. LearnToRead

    If you could read the article, you would know it's the same in the U.S and U.K.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • wrong

      Wrong. In the US the option is Depends on what day it is.

      September 15, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • SMH@You

      That would be way too easy and convienient for the haters, though.....

      September 15, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • SMH@You

      I know, right?????

      September 15, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Lianne Drager

    You look like the person who wrote 'It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature'.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Northern2011

    Hey lol, congratulations on making yourself look stupid.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Menemenetekelupharsin

    Also open to personal caprice now are race and even species. Though I was born white human, I am living as a black Dragon. I dress like a dragon, walk like a Dragon, and eat virgin sacrifices.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leafonthewind

      "Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup." I saw that on a tee shirt. You should get one! 🙂

      September 15, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • SMH@You


      September 15, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Robert

    So, if the idea behind a passport is for identification purposes, and therefore implying that the information in it is verifiable...what is the point of having gender information on it, if you can look like one gender but be the other gender, or look like neither? Doesn't that make the gender data useless?

    September 15, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leafonthewind

      That's a good question. Maybe gender should be entirely irrelevant?

      September 15, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. GZG

    Very accurate government! Tell if chromosomes XX or XY not F or M of the nature, leave the rest to others.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JoeSeattle

    I think I might know of one or two gov't positions in Australia that could be down-sized to save money.

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