The federal Government has made it easier for sex and gender diverse Australians to get passports that reflect their identity.
Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Attorney-General Robert McClelland today announced new guidelines which make it easier for sex and gender diverse people to get a passport in their preferred gender.
Under the guidelines, sex reassignment surgery will no longer be a prerequisite to issue a passport in a person’s preferred gender.
“Sex and gender diverse people now have the option of presenting a statement from a medical practitioner supporting their preferred gender,” Rudd said.
“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.”
The Government said the initiative was in line with its commitment to remove discrimination on the grounds of gender identity and sexual orientation.
“Most people take for granted the ability to travel freely and without fear of discrimination,” McClelland said.
“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.
“Importantly, this policy addresses a number of the recommendations contained in the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Sex Files report.”
A Gender Agenda spokesperson Peter Hyndal said the move was a step forward to remove discrimination for trans and intersex people.
“Previously, many sex and gender diverse people have been forced to travel on a passport which shows their sex as different from the way they identify and present,” Hyndal said.
“This predicament has raised very real safety issues for transgender and intersex people when travelling overseas.
“We are aware of specific cases where individuals have been detained in international airports or denied visas because the sex on their passport did not match their presentation and identity.”
TransGender Victoria spokesperson Sally Goldner said the changes are “hugely welcome and a great combination of common sense and humanity”.
“The practical effects for a person travelling overseas of the previous situation have resulted in circumstances ranging from humiliation to incarceration,” Goldner said.
“The practical effects for a person travelling overseas of the previous situation have resulted in circumstances ranging from humiliation to incarceration. This change will make travel much happier for people previously affected” noted Martine Delaney from the Australian Coalition for Equality.
WA Gender Project president Aram Hosie, Organisation Intersex International (OII) Australia president Gina Wilson and Australian Coalition for Equality’s Martine Delaney also spoke out in favour of the changes.
UPDATED Sep 15