Australia adds 'indeterminate sex' option to passport

Australian citizens can now mark their sex as ‘indeterminate’ on their passport in a move by government officials to avoid discrimination.

The Australian government had previously required a person to be of a different gender from that of their birth, otherwise known as ‘post-op’, before they could change their passport to their preferred sex, and even then there was no indeterminate option.

Now transgenders have the option to choose X over male or female on their passport as long as they have a doctor’s letter of approval.

Kevin Rudd, the Australian Foreign Minister, in a statement reported by the Associated Press, 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,”

Senator Louise Pratt, Australia's first parliamentarian with a transgendered partner, said the change was a huge step forward.

In an interview with ABC radio, she said: “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.

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

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

According to TNT Magazine, it is thought that nearly 4% of the Australian population are of indeterminate gender.

We think this is a great step forward by Australia to allowing people to travel as the person they want to be. What are your thoughts? Have you ever experience or noticed gender discrimination? Post your comments below.

Quotes taken from The Independent

Update - 19/09/2011:

The UK looks set to follow Australia's lead by introducing 'indeterminate passports', according to the Home Office.

Lynne Featherstone, Liberal Democrat Home Office Minister, said in a press statement: "The UK Government is totally committed to creating a society that is fair to everyone.

"We are committed to tackling prejudice and discrimination against transgender people at home and around the world.

“We need concerted government action to tear down barriers and help to build a fairer society for transgender people.”