I have been thinking about getting a passport.  I’ve never had one before and have no immediate plans to travel overseas.  The recent decision of my ex and two of my daughters to go on a cruise to Hawaii had me thinking of the options I’m excluded from by not having a passport (not that a cruise appeals to me at all).

Getting a passport is a fairly straightforward process requiring, for sound reasons, a number of steps to go through. 

A problem arises for me because I want an “F” on the passport and my birth certificate says “M”.  Actually I don’t want “M” or “F” on my passport.  (Are there different travel laws for men and women that makes it necessary for someone to know your gender?)   But given that minimum information requirements on passports are probably stipulated in some international agreements then I accept that, for the time being, I’ll need a gender marker on my passport.  (There was a time when we had gender markers on our driving licences.)

I must therefore get my Birth Certificate corrected.

To obtain a new Birth Certificate from the NSW Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages (RoBDM), the law says I have to be over 18 (Check), not married (check) and have undergone genital surgery (Check). 

These requirements are pretty discriminatory and should be changed, but since I satisfy them, it’s not an issue in my quest for a passport.  The Australian Equal Rights Commission  released a report earlier this year which went a small way in its recommendations towards reducing the discrimination. Nothing will change, however, until the Commenwealth  and State governments actually change their laws.

 I need to present to the NSW RoBDM my original Birth Certificate, my Change of Name Certificate, my Decree Absolute, and other forms of identification.  I need to provide a Statutory Declaration, signed by me indicating that I have indeed met all the reguirements specified in the Act. No problem.   But then…..

….. I need to provide Statutory Declarations from TWO registered medical doctors attesting to the fact that I have indeed had the pre-requisite surgery.  This condition appears vindictive.  Why two?  Where else are two statutory declarations required?

So not only am I faced with the cost of getting a passport ($208), I also have to fork out to RoBDM the cost of fee for changing my birth certificate and make (and pay for) two doctors appointments for the purpose of getting Statutory Declarations signed.

There are far more important issues facing the world, but why do the bureaucrats and law makers have to introduce unnecessary hurdles into our lives.


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