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AUSTRALIA

Male to Male relationships: Legal
Punishments for male to male relationships: No law
Female to Female Relationships: Legal
Age of consent: Equal for heterosexuals and homosexuals
Marriage and Substitutes for Marriage: Marriage laws vary in this country depending on area
Adoption: Only in some areas
Is it possible to change your gender on official documents?: Yes
Gay or lesbian able to serve in the armed forces: Yes

Your Views

Are you LGBTI? We want to hear from you! Help us inform other users of the site with your views on this country. Below is a random question about this country. If it is relevant to you please answer it.

How common are trainings on diversity that include sexual orientation and gender identity in the schools of AUSTRALIA?

The majority of people visiting this site have said Training occur, but don’t necessarily include sexual orientation or gender identity

We don’t have trainings (0 %) Training occur infrequently, and don’t include sexual orientation or gender identity (0 %) Training occur, but don’t necessarily include sexual orientation or gender identity (100%) Trainings always include sexual orientation or gender identity (0 %)

The Your Stories section is all about you! Please take a minute to tell visitors of the ILGA website about what LGBTI life is like in reality. Please submit your personal story and share your experience!

YOUR STORIES
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Readers Experiences

This is what people are saying about life for LGBTI people in AUSTRALIA...
Gina Wilson (user currently living in AUSTRALIA) posted for intersex readers on 20/01/2013 tagged with intersex
link
By Morgan on 19 January 2013.

As well as a travel document, a passport is one of the most important identity documents a person can hold. It’s important when opening a bank account, talking to a recruiter or employer, or renting or buying a property.

‘X’ passports have now been available for just over 10 years. The West Australian newspaper reported in ‘X marks the spot for intersex Alex’ on the first ‘X’ passport on 11 January 2003:

A QUIET trailblazer from Perth’s Hills has become the first in Australia and probably the world to hold a passport aknowledging that not everyone is male or female. Alex MacFarlane, 48, is intersex and wanted a passport recognising it. Women have a 46XX chromosome mix and men 46XY. Alex is 47XXY, a form of androgyny shared by about one in every 1500 to 2000 babies.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade initially baulked, saying its computers could deal only with an F or M in the sex field of passports. For Alex, choosing M or F would have been lying. “I should not have to commit fraud because of a department’s production inadequacies,” Alex said.

Late last year, after months of correspondence from Alex, and an inquiry from The WestAustralian, the department had a rethink, deciding to change its passport processing system to allow an X in the sex field. The X signifies unspecified sex or intersex and is the only other sex category allowed under International Civil Aviation Organisation guidelines for machine-readable passports.

Alex was born in Victoria, which allows the recording of “indeterminate” sex on birth certificates, as a result of campaigning by Tony Briffa.


In 2011, the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) revised the policy to allow more people to obtain an ‘X’ passport, on the basis of a simple letter signed by a medical doctor. A board member of OII Australia noted this in a submission to the Senate Inquiry on the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill, Exposure Draft. The submission, #579, reads:

In my life, the most difficult and, indeed, damaging experiences that I’ve had have been where people have incorrectly judged me on the basis of my legal gender or my presentation. When the current government broadened the eligibility for a passport with an ‘X’ sex descriptor, I took the option…

I have plenty of medical documentation showing my status, and my GP (who stood with me through diagnosis and who I’m immensely grateful for) was obliging in providing me the summary statement needed to obtain an ‘X’ passport.

The Passport Office states:

“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” – Australian Passport Office, https://www.passports.gov.au/web/sexgenderapplicants.aspx

It is therefore hugely disappointing to me that the current proposals in the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill, Exposure Draft, explicitly reject protection for people, like me, who are intersex and who do not fully or “on a genuine basis” identify as one or other sex.

This is inconsistent with the recognition given to me by the Commonwealth. I don’t personally regard my passport as marking me as a member of a third sex or gender. I’m uncomfortable with that notion. Rather, I see it as an opt out of a system of belief that I can’t live up to.

This is also inconsistent with the bill’s intention to otherwise protect people who are perceived to have a protected attribute, or who associate with people who possess such attributes.

For the first time in my life, I can understand what trans people go through when they change their documentation. Obtaining an X passport is very different in many ways – I haven’t changed my appearance or name. I use the same (male) toilet as before. My need for testosterone hasn’t changed and, in fact, I needn’t have gone through any of the surgical experiences I have had to be able to qualify for the passport.

Nevertheless, the passport presents some challenges…

The current proposals do not live up to the government’s stated intent of removing discrimination.

The explicit lack of inclusion of people who do not identify as male or female would mean that, if/when people like Alex and this OII Australia member are directly discriminated against, we have no legal recourse.

This is an issue that we will be raising with the Senate Inquiry during oral hearings in Sydney on Thursday 24 January.

More information

Direct link to “name withheld” submission, #579 (PDF)
Direct link to OII Australia’s submission, #12 (PDF)
All submissions to the Senate Inquiry
Our FAQ on ‘X’ passports
The current (and undated) DFAT Policy on ‘X’ passports
‘X marks the spot for intersex Alex’, The West Australian press report on Alex MacFarlane (PDF)
add response to story
Gina Wilson (user currently living in AUSTRALIA) posted for intersex readers on 20/01/2013 tagged with intersex
link
By Morgan on 19 January 2013.

As well as a travel document, a passport is one of the most important identity documents a person can hold. It’s important when opening a bank account, talking to a recruiter or employer, or renting or buying a property.

‘X’ passports have now been available for just over 10 years. The West Australian newspaper reported in ‘X marks the spot for intersex Alex’ on the first ‘X’ passport on 11 January 2003:

A QUIET trailblazer from Perth’s Hills has become the first in Australia and probably the world to hold a passport aknowledging that not everyone is male or female. Alex MacFarlane, 48, is intersex and wanted a passport recognising it. Women have a 46XX chromosome mix and men 46XY. Alex is 47XXY, a form of androgyny shared by about one in every 1500 to 2000 babies.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade initially baulked, saying its computers could deal only with an F or M in the sex field of passports. For Alex, choosing M or F would have been lying. “I should not have to commit fraud because of a department’s production inadequacies,” Alex said.

Late last year, after months of correspondence from Alex, and an inquiry from The WestAustralian, the department had a rethink, deciding to change its passport processing system to allow an X in the sex field. The X signifies unspecified sex or intersex and is the only other sex category allowed under International Civil Aviation Organisation guidelines for machine-readable passports.

Alex was born in Victoria, which allows the recording of “indeterminate” sex on birth certificates, as a result of campaigning by Tony Briffa.


In 2011, the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) revised the policy to allow more people to obtain an ‘X’ passport, on the basis of a simple letter signed by a medical doctor. A board member of OII Australia noted this in a submission to the Senate Inquiry on the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill, Exposure Draft. The submission, #579, reads:

In my life, the most difficult and, indeed, damaging experiences that I’ve had have been where people have incorrectly judged me on the basis of my legal gender or my presentation. When the current government broadened the eligibility for a passport with an ‘X’ sex descriptor, I took the option…

I have plenty of medical documentation showing my status, and my GP (who stood with me through diagnosis and who I’m immensely grateful for) was obliging in providing me the summary statement needed to obtain an ‘X’ passport.

The Passport Office states:

“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” – Australian Passport Office, https://www.passports.gov.au/web/sexgenderapplicants.aspx

It is therefore hugely disappointing to me that the current proposals in the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill, Exposure Draft, explicitly reject protection for people, like me, who are intersex and who do not fully or “on a genuine basis” identify as one or other sex.

This is inconsistent with the recognition given to me by the Commonwealth. I don’t personally regard my passport as marking me as a member of a third sex or gender. I’m uncomfortable with that notion. Rather, I see it as an opt out of a system of belief that I can’t live up to.

This is also inconsistent with the bill’s intention to otherwise protect people who are perceived to have a protected attribute, or who associate with people who possess such attributes.

For the first time in my life, I can understand what trans people go through when they change their documentation. Obtaining an X passport is very different in many ways – I haven’t changed my appearance or name. I use the same (male) toilet as before. My need for testosterone hasn’t changed and, in fact, I needn’t have gone through any of the surgical experiences I have had to be able to qualify for the passport.

Nevertheless, the passport presents some challenges…

The current proposals do not live up to the government’s stated intent of removing discrimination.

The explicit lack of inclusion of people who do not identify as male or female would mean that, if/when people like Alex and this OII Australia member are directly discriminated against, we have no legal recourse.

This is an issue that we will be raising with the Senate Inquiry during oral hearings in Sydney on Thursday 24 January.

More information

Direct link to “name withheld” submission, #579 (PDF)
Direct link to OII Australia’s submission, #12 (PDF)
All submissions to the Senate Inquiry
Our FAQ on ‘X’ passports
The current (and undated) DFAT Policy on ‘X’ passports
‘X marks the spot for intersex Alex’, The West Australian press report on Alex MacFarlane (PDF)
add response to story
add response to story
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