Australia issues new gender-free ‘X’ passport

Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger

The Australian Passport Office this month rolled out a new passport option for transgender travelers in transition or those who don’t identify with either gender: the “X” passport. The passport adds X, or indeterminate, to “male” or “female” choices. Now Britain also may be mulling the idea of gender-free passports, the Associated Press reports.

The Australian Passport Office’s website says the move aims to “remove discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or sex and gender identity.”

But the Canberra Times credits the change to an appeal won by a transgender woman who was denied a passport as a female because her birth certificate said she was male. Previously the office required proof of a sex-change operation to change passport gender. Now only a letter from a doctor that documents treatment for gender change is required.

The U.S. State Department last year also eased its rules on passports for transgender travelers, dropping a requirement that transgender people have proof of surgery to obtain a passport in their desired gender. Now only a doctor’s letter is required that “validates whether your gender transition is in process or complete.”