The Rudd Government has reinstated gender-neutral identity documents and passports to help transgender people travelling overseas for surgery.
The decision follows an Administrative Appeals Tribunal ruling last year that transgender married couples were entitled to be issued new passports with their correct gender and existing marital status.
The policy review recommended those applications by people who are legally married and in a same-sex relationship should be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Since the AAT decision, five passports have been issued to married sex- and gender-diverse persons, the Department of Foreign Affairs stated in response to Senate questions.
A new limited-validity passport will be available to applicants who wish to travel overseas for gender re-assignment surgery.
Transgender people who have not legally changed genders will also be allowed to apply for an internationally-recognised document of identity (DOI) with the gender field left blank.
Applicants who wish to travel overseas for gender reassignment surgery may be eligible for a limited-validity passport in their intended gender.
Gender Centre spokeswoman Katherine Cummings said gender-neutral documentation wasn’t quite good enough because it draws attention to the traveller. She said the Gender Centre was not consulted when the re-introduced documents were first removed under former foreign minister Alexander Downer, nor were they consulted as part of the recent review.
Transgender people deserve the right to show whatever correct gender on the documents they carry, she said.
I don’t think anyone should have to travel on documents that draw attention to them, usually adverse attention from people who are not aware of the true situation of transgender.
The Department advised transgender people using gender-neutral documentation to check with their destination before travelling.
While no complaints have been received from persons actually encountering problems when travelling on Australian DOIs, the letter and acknowledgement receipt have been amended to advise applicants that they should check with the relevant country’s diplomatic representation prior to departure from Australia, as to whether a DOI will be accepted for entry to and exit from the country concerned.

© Star Observer 2018 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and intersex (LGBTI) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.