We have been told continually by UK authorities, that we ex-pats living in Australia, are not legal after Sex Re-assignment Surgery (SRS), unless in receipt of a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) by the State or Territory where we now reside. Only South Australia (1988) and Victoria (2005) give this certification as full recognition of our new gender.
UK, consider under their Gender Recognition Act 2004, that until we have a GRC/ BC (Birth Certificate) issued from there, we are not legally recognised in the jurisdiction where we now reside.
This has implications in areas such as Passports, Citizenship Certificates and Health Insurance Central records.
We are allowed by the laws of the States and Territories in Australia to change most of the myriad details we have to. These include change of name, driver’s licence and electoral roll before SRS. We can only change a BC, if born in that jurisdiction within Australia, plus Passport, Citizenship Certificate and Health Insurance Commission (HIC) after SRS. For those born abroad we can change our Australian Passport after SRS, if we are an Australian Citizen, also our Citizenship Certificate and HIC records.
My question is, does this mean we are fully recognised in our new gender, as we have had to supply letters from our Surgeon and Change of Name in order for these to be altered. So, am I fully recognised now as female?
The reason for all of these enquiries, are to do with the UK Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) and the Gender Recognition Panel (GRP) in Leicester. I was told in June 2005 “I think that you are wise to seek local legal advice as to your legal gender in both Queensland and Australia”
I sent a request to Immigration about this, and received an answer from Heather Connor dated the 14/06/2005 stating, “To change name, a replacement Citizenship Certificate can be requested if a client has had Gender Re-assignment Surgery (GRS) and provides a letter from the surgeon who performed the operation, plus deed poll papers to demonstrate that their name has been lawfully changed”
This information I passed to the GRP in UK and received this answer. “June 2005. In answer to the e-mail you sent ‘I’m afraid that this does NOT amount to legal recognition of your change of gender. They have recognised your change of NAME but this does not amount to giving you legal status as a female—that’s a separate issue.
This is the crucial issue which you have to understand here that changing your name on official documentation is NOT the same thing as giving you full legal recognition of your change of gender’
This is making it rather difficult for many of us born in UK, especially those who arrived as a child, travelling on their parent’s passport. If you have never taken out Australian Citizenship, or applied for an Australian or UK passport, you are now faced with huge problems. If you are Transsexual (TS) and are in the act of transitioning and living full time in your preferred gender, but have not had SRS, then you would receive a passport as a male according to the current BC. I understand that an application for a new passport after SRS, must now be accompanied by a BC stating your new gender, even though holding a current passport. Is this correct? To go abroad for SRS or to check out the surgeons and hospitals would now cause problems, especially in the follow up to 9/11. You would be required to travel on a passport that stated you were male or female, which ever way you are now changing to.
If issued a UK passport, the same applies, but then if you travel on this you would have to apply for a re-entry visa although a permanent resident in Australia, but not an Australian Citizen via Citizenship. This in turn causes problems and raises the question of an ADV (Australian Declaratory Visa)
What we really would like to know is, are we legally recognised in our new gender after applying for a Passport, Citizenship Certificate and have had our HIC records changed, if we were born abroad. If we are, then the UK situation of telling us we are not legal in State or Country does not hold up. Is this correct?
Love and Peace, Kathy Anne Noble
President, Changeling Aspects.
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