back to article Australia to issue passports for males, females and... X

Australians will be allowed to mark X as their gender on passports in a move to help curb discrimination against transgendered and intersex people. Although gay marriage remains outlawed in Down Under, its government has taken uncharacteristically liberal steps so that individuals can declare their preferred gender when …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who needs hard facts anyway?

    Does this also mean that I can pick a different date of birth if I don't like the one I was lumped with?

  2. Connor

    Call me old fashioned.

    Maybe I am just out of touch, but I don't understand the need. Surely they'd just need to pick the same sex as the stick person on the door of the toilet they use?

    I don't know about Australia but transgenders make up just 0.00007% of the UK population, making them slightly less common than people who think they are werewolves. So why bother? There must surely be an easier, and cheaper, way than adding a whole new category?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Does that mean ...

      As. Transgender Werewolf, does that mean I can use any toilet?

      1. Scott 53

        Does that mean ...

        As a Transgender Werewolf, wouldn't you just use a lamppost?

        1. LaeMing Silver badge

          A trans-gender Werewolf

          can use anything it likes!

    2. stu 19

      You don't understand the need?

      Neither do I. Why, in an enlightened and non discriminatory society does the gender of a passport holder have any bearing on their right to hold a passport at all?

      Its the same as the job applications that say "we are an equal opportunities employer but please tell me if you are a black man"

      Who gives a monkey's f?????? left nut what gender box fits? I don't and I'm reasonably sure most of us (meaning you) don't either. Sure I think its unusual for a guy to dress like a girl and want to be though of as female, but that's my problem, Maybe I should stop expecting to look at all women to see how attractive I think they may be And that right there Illustrates exactly what I mean.

      Just drop the dumb need to categorise people into gender, race, age, etc etc.

  3. John Tserkezis

    Whoo Hoo! My weight is no longer the reason everyone will be looking and pointing (and laughing) at my manboobs.

    Now they'll be looking and pointing (and laughing) at the "X" on my passport. And I'm ok with that.

  4. idris

    @Connor: this is about intersexed people, not transgendered

    Connor, I don't know where you got that statistic from but this is about intersexed people anyway - the article states that this does NOT apply to transgendered people. Those making flippant comments about "oh I'd like to change my birth date" are a bit late to the party - people have been able to legally change their gender for a long time in most countries. This is a different issue.

    A quick look on wikipedia reveals that depending on the definition used, the number of intersex births ranges from between around 0.018% to 1.7%. Most people think they have never met an intersexed person because routine "corrective" surgery and hormone therapy has been used for many decades in an attempt to sweep the condition under the carpet. Intersexed people have always existed and western attitudes to sex and gender have been out of step with nature for too long and this is the next step in correcting this.

    As for practical problems, this basically comes down to toilets and language. The first is easy enough to solve: allow intersexed people to use disabled toilets (or any toilet) until old-fashioned countries like the UK catch up with forward-looking countries like Sweden where unisex toilets are common.

    Secondly, in English, there are already a few neologisms allowing people to avoid the he/his she/her problem, the most popular being zie/hir. It sounds a little clumsy when you first hear it, but if this tiny detail is the only barrier towards recognition of intersexed people then I think we all just need to get over it. Is learning a new pronoun really so much effort that it means intersexed people should instead be goaded into surgery and lifelong hormone therapy, forcing upon them a gender which is discordant to their nature?

    Admittedly, we could do with a shorter way of saying "intersexed person".

  5. Gary Sturgess

    Connor - the article seems to imply that the category already exists for machine readable passports, it's just that no currently issued passports included the option. Assuming that is the case, there isn't really a cost here to do this; any transgendered individuals that want a new "X" passport don't get it for free, after all.

    So yes, they are a small minority, but if we can take a near-zero cost (and actually, probably slightly profitable, even) solution to reduce discrimination, there's little reason not to.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    on the other hand

    Having an X passport would mean that you'd get to pick who fondles you when flying into the US.

    More power to you, whatever you are.

    1. LaeMing Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Maybe... could even insist on being 'searched' by someone also of gender X.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Why X? Why not Y? Or XXY?

    1. Velv Silver badge

      Or really XX or XY - we're all just chromosomes.

      So that would just be Female or Male then

      1. ArmanX

        Technically, there are more than just XX and XY

        XXX (about 1/1000 femals), XXY (about 1/650 males), XYY (about 1/1000 males), XXYY (about 1 in 18,000-40,000), XXXX (100 women since it was discovered), and XXXXX (60 since it was discovered) also exist.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surgery not a requirement?

    Oh come on. Really, if you want to swap to the other gender from the one you were born with, surely surgery is a requirement? Without it, aren't you just a cross-dresser?

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      If you really believe that surgery is a requirement you need to to some research on what I believe are correctly described here as specialist websites.

      Executive summary: gender is about a lot more than whether you have a vagina or penis or what clothes you choose to wear.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's easy to tell someone's gender: put your hand down their pants. Innie = girl, outie = boy. Home-grown or surgically constructed is unimportant.

    OK so there are a couple of people who have gone non-gender (they've had surgery to make it just smooth down there with nothing of interest whatsoever), I guess they get to use the "X" on the passport. Although in that case I'd like to see "X" replaced with "Action Figure".

  10. Wombat

    Why "X" ...

    ... when "?" is more appropriate.

  11. Stephen 27

    Why list gender at all?

    There is no value in listing gender, how can it be relevant if it's an arbitrary user option?

    To the border patrol, we're either human or luggage... either way we're going to be scanned, (hu)manhandled, opened and ferreted through.

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  13. Decius

    Sex, or gender?

    In English, male and female and intersex refer to sex, which is a biological phenomenon. Man and woman distinguish on the basis of gender, which is a social phenomenon.

    And yes, if an intersex person has the right to be searched by a "person of the same biological sex", they can certainly stand on their right to do so. Standing on your rights in cases where you are being strip-searched results in getting tased, beaten, and arrested.

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