The Use of The Word “Transgender” In The Australian Passport Act-2005
From: Kathy Noble [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Subject: Meaning of Transgender
After your letter imploring me to approach all of the Attorneys-General concerning consistency of wording and law, I wish to point out the following!
I would like to draw your attention to the word Transgender as it is used in two different ways. One is as an umbrella term that covers all areas, as per the attached. The other is for a person, who lives as a member of the opposite sex, but does not have surgery.
Your use of Transgender in the Passport Act gives the wrong impression as to who can apply for an amended Passport, as the laws in Australia all state that it is only those who have undergone some form of Sex Re-assignment Surgery who are able to apply for an amended passport after receiving either an amended Birth Certificate, or an amended Citizenship Certificate, or both if born off shore.
I would hope that as you have pointed out the need for more enforceable laws in this area that you will amend this error, as soon as possible!
Please read the following, as it tells how the word Transgender came about, and how it is applied in most parts of the World!
Is a political term to cover all of the disparate classes of people who fight for the common goal of ending all discrimination based on sex/gender variance. The term Transgender is politically useful, but is too vague a word to show much commonality between individual people’s identities, life experiences or understanding of gender.
The word originally had a narrow definition as coined by Virginia Price in order to disassociate Tran people, such as herself, who lived full time as a member of her identified sex without undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS), from Transsexual, whom she reportedly disdained. (Brown, ‘20th Century TG History and Experience) (Leslie Feinberg, Transgender Warriors, Boston, Beam Press 1996)
Since the 1990s the word Transgenderism has been used primarily as an umbrella term to describe those who defy societal expectations and assumptions regarding femaleness and maleness; this includes people who are TS (those who live as members of the sex other than the one assigned at birth) and many other areas of those who are considered to deviate from societal norms of femaleness and maleness.. Another point that is often overlooked in discussions about transgenderism is that many individuals who fall under the transgender umbrella choose not to identify with that term. For example many Intersex people reject the term because their condition is about physical sex (not gender). Similarly, many Transsexuals disavow the term because of its anti-transsexual roots or because they feel that the transgender movement tends to privilege those identities, actions and appearances that most visibly transgress gender norms. (Whipping Girl, Julia Serano, Seal Press 2007)
The laws in Australia via States and Territories and Federal government will only allow you to change your Birth Certificate, Passport, Citizenship Certificate and Health Insurance Commission central records after SRS, so therefore are directed at and should only use the term Transsexual, and not Transgender, which indicates that they have not chosen to undergo SRS, and do not qualify to be able to change the above documentation as the law is currently stated!
If the word Transgender is used as the political term as an umbrella cover for all of the disparate classes of people it covers, then if this is used when formulating the law to cover those who can amend their Birth Certificate, Passport, Citizenship Certificate and Health Insurance Commission records, this would indicate anyone who is within those disparate classes, such as Cross-Dresser, Transgender, Transsexual, Drag Queen, Drag King, Intersex, AIS, PAIS, Genderqueer, etc, etc can change their documentation accordingly.
I do not believe that was the intention of those law, as they all state that one must have undergone SRS in order to change these items of documentation.
Kathy Anne Noble 25-09-2007
Love and Peace, Kathy Anne Noble
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