Are You Man, Woman Or Indeterminate?September 16, 2011 No Comments
Could it be that the supposedly concrete relationship between sex and gender is finally being officially challenged?
A new rule has been passed in Australia allowing people to nominate their own gender identity on their passports. Before today, a person whose gender was different from that of their birth was required to provide evidence of sex-change surgery before they could alter their passport. Now, not only can we choose whether we’ll be recognized as men or women, there’s also an “indeterminate” option for those who prefer to shirk the dichotomy.
While being labelled “indeterminate” may not exactly denote the utopic fluidity queer activists have been campaigning for, at least it’s a step in the right direction for taking individual choice into accounts of gender. It will certainly make life easier for transgender and intersex individuals who’ve long been burdened by others’ misunderstandings.
The Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, showed refreshing compassion toward the issue:
“Most people take for granted the ability to travel freely and without fear of discrimination. This measure will extend the same freedoms to sex and gender-diverse Australians,” he said.
He explained the changes, which come into effect immediately, will mean people simply need a doctor’s letter to change their passport details to reflect what they consider to be their true gender.
Martine Delaney of the Australian Coalition for Equality shed some light on how devastating the old laws had been, telling the story of a man who had lived as a woman for 25 years but hadn’t undergone reassignment surgery for medical reasons. She’d been detained in the US by customs officials who labelled her suspicious because of the confusion around her identity.
Thankfully the law was dropped in the US last year. Hopefully Australia getting on board with the development will gather some momentum and act as a catalyst for change in further countries.
And no, we’re not going to attach a photo of Chaz Bono or the mini-Tomboy, Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, to this article. Because that’s just tacky. It turns out, although contrary to popular belief in the media, they’re not the only two transsexual, transgender or “indeterminate” people on the planet.
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