Australian passports offer third gender option

Australian passports will now offer three gender options: male, female and indeterminate, under new guidelines that aim to remove transgender discrimination, according to reports.

Those who do not identify themselves as male or female will no longer be required to check off the “Male” or “Female” box under gender, but instead will have the option of checking “X,” according to the new passport rules.

Intersex people, born with atypical combinations of physical features that usually distinguish female from male, can list their gender as X. Transgender people, whose perception of their own sex conflicts with their birth gender, can select whether they are male or female but need a doctors statement to support their choice.

Previously, travellers were not able to change sex on their passport unless they had had surgery.

The Australian Passport Company explained in a statement: “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,” It added: “The policy removes unnecessary obstacles to recording a person’s preferred gender in their passport.”

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Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd explained: “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.”