Having recently moved from Sydney Australia to Boulder Colorado, where EVERYONE gets carded all the time, regardless of how old or young one looks, I am so grateful for the small but to me, very significant courtesy that the New South Wales government of Australia issues its citizens.
Unlike pretty much every other drivers license in the world, New South Wales, Australia does NOT require a gender marker. Nor does it require a salutation. I’m sure this is something that 99% of NSW license holders never even notice, but boy did it make a huuuuge difference to me as I was transitioning.
It meant I could update my name on my license and not have to worry about legally changing my gender, a process which can take quite some time depending on individual circumstances and is usually much harder than a name change seeing bureaucracies are used to the idea of people changing names, but not of changing gender.
It’s small little things like this, that make absolutely no difference to 99% of the population but a WORLD of difference to the trans community that I would love to see become integral to our societies. Why do we need a gender marker on our passports? How does this help in identifying me any more than putting “caucasian” in my passport?
Salutations were, and at times still are the bane of my existence. In so many instances bureaucracies simply do not allow you to change your salutation from Ms to Mr even though Ms gets changed to Mrs every day. Hence I’m now a Lieutenant on more than one bureaucratic document.
I also had huge issues the last time I flew with Virgin, with them almost not letting me on a flight. Their booking process forced me to choose a salutation (and I chose Mr as I very clearly look like a Mr) but then as my passport still shows F they proclaimed at the bag check that my travel itinerary didn’t match my passport (even though the name did.) Incidentally their answer to this horrific bureaucratic dilemma, was to take my already printed boarding passes (which said Mr), take out a great big fat red marker, cross out the Mr, write Ms and then put an official stamp next to it. One virgin staff member at the boarding gate actually commented saying “Wow, they couldn’t possibly have drawn more attention to that, could they?”
Being a fairly thick skinned individual, I just shrug off these kinds of daily incidents. You have to. But then I am also the acceptable heteronormative version of trans that the world finds so much easier to swallow. I know it’s a LOT harder for so, so many of my trans brothers and sisters.
I just hope to see a world in the future, where gender is recognised socially and bureaucratically as the very broad spectrum it has always been and binary markers such as F and M totally done away with, not only in our passports, but also in the way we relate to each other as human beings.