Thursday 23 November 2017

X marks the spot on passports for transgendered Australians

Australians applying for new passports now have an extra choice in the gender field. Photo: Getty Images
Australians applying for new passports now have an extra choice in the gender field. Photo: Getty Images

Bonnie Malkin, Sydney

Australians applying for new passports now have an extra choice in the gender field, after authorities allowed transgendered people to nominate their official gender as "indeterminate".

Under new guidelines brought in by the department of foreign affairs, Australians can now mark M, F or X on their passports.



Previously, the government had required a person whose gender was different from that of their birth to have reassignment surgery before they could change their passport to their preferred sex, and there was no "indeterminate" option.



Now they will simply need a letter from their doctor to be allowed to mark X on the document.



The move was brought in to prevent discrimination against transgendered people.



Robert McClelland, the Attorney General, said the changes, which come into effect immediately, meant transgendered or intersex people would find travelling much easier.



"Most people take for granted the ability to travel freely and without fear of discrimination," he said. "This measure will extend the same freedoms to sex and gender-diverse Australians."



Senator Louise Pratt, Australia's first parliamentarian with a transgendered partner – born female but now a man – said the change was a huge step forward.



"There have been very many cases of people being detained at airports by immigration in foreign countries simply because their passports don't reflect what they look like," she told ABC radio.



"It's very distressing, highly inconvenient and frankly sometimes dangerous."



The move has been welcomed by the transgender and intersex community, who have since called for Australia's state governments to follow suit by allowing birth certificates to also be altered without the prerequisite of surgery.



Telegraph.co.uk

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