"Conformity is the jailer of
freedom and the enemy of growth."
Talk to Agender Wellington
We found that people who arrived as ten pound Poms, or children on parent’s passports were sometimes not existing, as documentation over time had not been captured electronically, or had been lost or destroyed.
A friend who moved across country was told that she did not exist by Centrelink when she applied for the dole. She had to supply details of entry on her parent’s passport via Sydney in 1969 by BOAC flight. It took Centrelink 6 months to get the answer to this problem.
She applied for amendment of her residency status, and received back the following letter “If you have not made a valid application and if you are still in Australia after that date (Word/ no date) you will become an unlawful non-citizen on date (again word but no date). It appears that our fears of inconsistency concerning this matter are well founded.
I am also helping Ally in her quest for answers to the same problems here.
Quote from letter from DIAC
Dear Ms Noble
Thank you for your e-mail received by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship,
I apologise if you have been passed between officers. Your e-mail has prompted a
While I can confirm that your records have been amended to reflect your details in
The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act) provides a mechanism for the
Once the amendment/s have been made, the next step is to apply for Certificate of
Difficulties encountered by clients who may be permanent residents, but arrived on
If you would like to discuss these issues further, please contact Elizabeth Low,
As you can see from the letter, this is not just about Trans people, as it covers all who entered the Country under the ten pound Pom scheme.
I was told that in order to establish your residency status, as it is imperative to do so if you had been afforded permanent residency as a male and had then undergone SRS to become female, as the female did not exist until the details had been altered. This of course would be exactly the same if you were FtM. In the current situation in regard to terrorism, it is considered to be very important to have your new status confirmed.
How to go about this and apply to Immigration FOI is explained in the letter from the department. When we queried this further, we found that you need to send these details.
To apply to have departmental records amended under Freedom of Information provisions a person must make an application Form 424C - Request for amendment or annotation to personal records under the Freedom of Information Act 1982. There is no application fee for this application. Please note: all cases are assessed on a case by case basis.
Australian temporary or permanent residents may be required to provide evidence of their status to State or Territory authorities in the form of a certificate of evidence of resident status. You must make this application on a Form 164 - Certificate of evidence of residence status (also known as a form 283) and pay a $100.00 application fee. This certificate is not required for citizenship application purposes.
We also found that contrary to popular belief, that if you stayed the required two years as a ten pound Pom, you acquired citizenship automatically, this is wrong as many ex poms have found out.
The last paragraph in the above extract from the letter intrigued me, so I queried it and it was confirmed that non surgery is acceptable to the department that covers both immigration and citizenship
The new status for residency is acceptable by citizenship, so when applying for citizenship, or amending citizenship certificate those details are accepted.
It is desirable that the evidence of Australian citizenship reflects the person's new identity. Australian citizens applying for new evidence of citizenship should apply on Form 119 – Application for evidence of Australian citizenship and pay $55.00 application fee. The following documentation should be provided in addition to those that are required for all applications:
Note: the surgeon’s statement would contain information such as confirmation that the person has undergone a full gender re-assignment procedure. The psychiatrist’s statement would provide confirmation that the person is living as their chosen gender of identity, has undergone hormone treatment and shows no intention of reverting to their original gender
In cases of gender reassignment, it is desirable that the evidence of Australian citizenship reflects the person's new identity. Applicants should enclose with their application:
Dear Kathy Anne,
Thank you for the opportunity to discuss passport policy and clarify our requirements for issuing of Australian passports to transgender applicants.
As discussed, the Australia Passport Office (APO) does not play a role in registering identities in the Australian community. The Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (RBDM) and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) have this responsibility and the APO relies on information provided by these authorities to determine a person's identity and entitlement to an Australian passport. The document required (known as cardinal document) is either a RBDM birth certificate (for Australian born applicants) or a DIAC citizenship certificate (for overseas born applicants). All passport applicants regardless of gender, or whether they are transgender, must present one of these documents in support of their application for an Australian travel document.
The Department therefore responds directly to what RBDM or DIAC agree to include on the birth or citizenship register. Provided the applicant can provide a birth or citizenship certificate in the reassigned gender, and meets all other passport application requirements (such as completing the application form correctly, paying the appropriate fee and providing RBDM evidence of name change if necessary) then an Australia passport will be issued in that gender. Where transgender applicants remain married, the APO will consider applications on a case by case by basis.
I hope the above is helpful. Please do not hesitate to call me if you wish to discuss any other passport matters.
Thank you for your very prompt and concise answers to our questions. On the current APO Form PC1_0706 on page 5, 3C, Australian citizenship certificate, would we have to send a duly notated copy of our Citizenship Certificate attached to the application?
Also at 3B if we have a previous Australian passport that had 2 years validity or more that was issued after 20/08/1986 would we need to send this as well?
We now have the situation following on the Grace Abrams Appeal Court win, that a Trans person who stays married after SRS, can amend their Passport. In the case of a Trans woman, this would mean she will have a passport registered as female, but a male birth certificate, as the BDMRs will not amend the birth certificate unless divorced. Total farce!
I have now received the full list of requirements from the APO and these are very interesting.
As requested, please find the following requirements for people wishing to change their gender/sex on an Australian travel document/passport. Further to our conversation this afternoon, it seems that we are in the process of updating our website to include information regarding change of gender (Q & A page). However, due to staff absences in our systems area I am unable to let you know when this is expected to be released.
Please let me know if you have any other questions.
Travelling for the purpose of gender reassignment
Limited Validity Passport (LVP)
Note - The LVP may be replaced gratis with a passport valid for the remainder of the 10 year period in reassigned gender only when the applicant submits a cardinal document reflecting the changed sex, evidence of a change of name registered with RBDM as well as other usual passport requirements
Note - For LVPs and DOIs, the applicant must acknowledge the following in writing:
Change of Name
Exceptions - Full validity passport to be issued in new gender
Applicants who have not completed gender reassignment
The relevant body in each State or Territory for recognising gender reassignment is listed in the table below.
Thank you Susan. We will have to live in hope that there will be a change so that those people who live in the preferred gender/sex by either choice, or lack of funds that they will be able to amend passports in the future. Many travel on their passport in their birth gender/sex and this can be hairy in some countries.
Love and Peace, Kathy
From: Susan.Jeffery@dfat.gov.au [mailto:Susan.Jeffery@dfat.gov.au]
This of course has had a flow on affect where staying married after SRS is concerned,
We started to question the fact that Government departments and agencies were deeming us to be no longer married. This affected the spouse, as they lost all of their rights under the Marriage Act 1961. The spouse and the Trans partner were now deemed to be a same sex couple. This meant that they were now paid at single rates if on a pension, lost their medicare rights to PBS, lost the right to pass on any defined pension to their partner on demise.
We asked questions of the Commonwealth A-G and finally started to get answers back after the Same Sex Act reforms were passed into law, with implementation as from July 1 2009.
Letter from the Federal A-G dated 19-01-2009
While the reforms do not expressly address the sex or gender diversity of specific individuals, they ensure that same-sex de facto couples and their families are recognised and have the same entitlements as opposite-sex de facto couples. A transgender individual who remains married after surgery will not be deemed to be no longer married as a result of the reforms. The effect of the reforms is that such an individual will receive the same treatment regardless of whether they are considered to be a member of a same-sex or opposite-sex couple. (My highlighting)
Letter from the Federal A-G dated 17-03-2009
In relation to your letter of 24 January 2009, I would like to clarify the Government's position. I can confirm that the Commonwealth Same-Sex discrimination law reforms will have no effect on the Marriage Act 1961. The Marriage Act provides that a marriage must be between a man and a woman. This is consistent with current Government policy and there are no plans to change the Marriage Act to allow for a marriage to be solemnized between same-sex couples.
Gender re-assignment surgery has never, of itself, changed the status of a marriage which was valid at the time of solemnization. It has always been the case that a validly solemnized marriage would continue, irrespective of whether one of the parties subsequently underwent gender re-assignment surgery. The same-sex reforms due to come into force on 1 July 2009 do not change that position.
The legal recognition of the sex of transgender persons is primarily a matter for the States and Territories, as they are responsible for maintaining their respective Registers of Births, Deaths and marriages. All States and Territories have legislation which enables post-operative transgender persons to obtain either a recognition certificate or an amended birth certificate recording their preferred sex in certain circumstances, unless the person is a married person. Again, the same-sex reforms have no impact on this.
The Government's same-sex reforms amend 84 Commonwealth laws to remove discrimination against same-sex couples and their children. They extend to same-sex de facto couples the same entitlements and obligations that apply to opposite-sex de facto couples.
From your correspondence I now understand that you are also asking about the policy positions taken by other Commonwealth departments and agencies, including Centrelink. I understand that those policy issues are currently under review by the relevant departments and agencies.
Your letter of the 17 March 2009 in answer to my previous correspondence. I am sending this letter to John Boersig in answer to that letter.
Thank you for your letter dated 17-03-2009. I was in Canberra that day for the launch of the AHRC Trans Report.
In your letter, we note what has been written in paragraphs 4 and 5 and are very pleased to know that the situation of staying married after Sex Re-assignment Surgery (SRS) is to be recognised fully within the Same Sex Act, after 1 July 2009. This will alleviate much trauma and heart ache by my friends, who are involved in this way. They look on Marriage as a life long commitment and the sanctity of marriage and their deep love for each other. This is of paramount importance to them.
It does raise the question, if this is a Federal Law ‘Marriage Act 1961’ then how can the States and Territories “FORCE” us to divorce in order to amend documentation?. This appears to be the same situation that the German Government faces after being told by the German Constitutional Court, that they must repeal the Act “FORCING” people to divorce in order to amend documentation, as this is “UNCONSTITUTIONAL”
I have looked at the Australian Constitution under States and it states
Commonwealth Of Australia Constitution Act
Chapter V. The States.
I must also question paragraph 6, as it states “all States and Territories” It is true that all States and Territories will amend Birth Certificates if born in that jurisdiction, providing you are “over 18, single (read divorced) and have undergone SRS” All of them do not provide Recognised Details Certificates for those residing in those jurisdictions and born off shore. This can make it very hard to be fully recognised in your preferred gender/sex. Currently, only South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria and NSW (on stream as from 01-03-2009) offer this facility. The question of remaining married is raised above.
I thank you for the detail concerning Commonwealth Departments and Agencies including Centrelink, as this was of great concern to us.
I await your answer with interest.
Yours Sincerely, Kathy Anne Noble.
I received this answer from Centrelink. With regard to my query about how we were to be dealt with by them. It was fast, as it only took a week to get this answer.
PO Box 452 Cleveland QLD 4163
giving you options
Kathy Anne Noble
7 May 2009
Dear Ms Noble
I refer to your recent enquiry about Centrelink's policy in regard to the introduction of the Government's same-sex reforms.
From 1 July 2009, a couple who are legally married and not living separately and apart from one another on a permanent or indefinite basis, despite one of the members of the couple having undergone gender re-assignment surgery, can be assessed in the same way as any other legally married couple.
I hope that this answers your question. Please contact me if I can be of further assistance in this matter.
giving you options
This is the response that I received from Professor Alan Berman to my query.
kathy noble <email@example.com> 05/11/09 12:28 PM >>>
Is there a law in place in Australia that enables States and Territories to 'FORCE TRANS PEOPLE TO DIVORCE?" For that matter is there a law in this Country that forces anyone to divorce.
It appears to me that someone has invented this law to affect only the Trans community, so who was it, and when did it first raise its ugly head?
I have been told by divorce lawyers, that this situation cannot arise or, for that matter exist. They are totally disbelieving when I tell them that is the case so far as we are concerned.
This is not my area of specialty but I have conferred with a family law specialist and he provided the following information.
I hope this is helpful.
With kind regards,
I have sought answers from 3 legal people, one a professor about my reading of section 109 of the Constitution and also the possible affect this could have in light of the German Constitutional Courts ruling, plus the fact that Austria did this in 2006.
I am now awaiting answers to my query concerning our Constitution, as I feel that this when taken into account with the Austrian and German shift away from FORCING PEOPLE TO DIVORCE IN ORDER TO AMEND DOCUMENTATION, could have a World wide knock on affect
Please don’t forget that we are the only minority group that is forced to amend every piece of documentation, some 40 plus pieces, either before or after SRS. This can lead to unbelievable STRESS.
Quotes from abroad
To overcome the stress factor and make the process more user friendly, each department should provide a page on their web site explaining just exactly what they need Trans people to do, when applying to amend documents. This is being done in the UK to explain how to apply for an identity card. It will be on the web site, hot line, and booklet that can be obtained from the department
Transsexualism is now understood to be innate and somantic rather than a lifestyle choice. Deprived of appropriate treatment, trans people are likely to function less well and suffer ongoing health problems resulting in a greater strain on the National health System
Parliamentary Forum on Transsexualism (2005); Guidelines for Health Organisations Commissioning Treatment Services for Individuals Experiencing Gender Dysphoria and Transsexualism; London, Parliamentary Forum on Transsexualism
GID if left untreated, can result in clinically significant psychological distress, dysfunction, debilitating depression and, for some people without access to appropriate medical care and treatment, suicidality and death…delaying treatment for GID can cause and/or aggravate additional serious and expensive health problems, such as stress-related physical illnesses, depression, and substance abuse problems, which further endanger patients’ health and strain the health care system
American Medical Association House of Delegates Resolution 122 (2008)
The personal accounts of transsexual people and their clinicians further demonstrate that surgical considerations often represent, quite literally, a matter of life or death
Kotula D. (2002) In The Phallus Palace, W.E. Parker (consulting editor) Alyson Publications, Los Angeles
Delays in the ‘system’, whether clinical or financial, cause a great deal of stress, While the inability to access timely treatment may also be a cause of suicidal feelings. As well as suicide, a number of other risks are identified:
GIRES et al. (2008) Guidance for GPs, other clinicians and health professionals on the care of gender variant people; document issued by the Department of Health (UK)
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