Because your passport includes your photo and is widely used as a primary ID document, it can be a powerful thing to have on your side. If you have a passport, or can get one, having a passport in your correct gender can allow you to update your details in most places relatively easily.
You need to update your passport with the government that issued it - for Australian citizens, that's the Australian Passport Office. If you have a passport issued by another country, you'll need to follow their rules to update your details, if they allow you to do so.
Links to the Australian Passport Office:
Centrelink, Medicare, Tax Office and other government departments
All federal government departments follow the same rules for updating your gender details - there’s no requirement for medical transition under these guidelines.
Different government departments don’t share information so you will need to update your details at every department you interact with.
Centrelink and Medicare:
Update your gender with Services Australia to update both Centrelink and Medicare.
Changing your gender with Medicare does not affect your entitlements to government subsidy for hormones or other health care.
Aus Tax Office:
Update your gender with the ATO
All other government departments:
You might interact with other
federal government departments. To update your gender with them, contact them directly.
Gender does not appear on any driver’s licences in Australia, but there is a record of your gender kept on your file. Police can see the gender listed on your file if they pull you over.
You need to update your details with the agency that issued your drivers licence. Most states and territories treat this in the same way as updating any personal details. In general, you will need to phone or visit a service centre.
Links to details on updating gender on your driver's licence:
Birth certificates are issued and regulated at a state and territory level. This means that the approach to changing your birth certificate to match your gender identity will be different depending on which state or territory your certificate was issued in.
The gender on your birth certificate determines the gender on your death certificate and the gender on your marriage certificate ("bride" or "groom") if your state includes this information.
Many states have changed their laws in recent years to make it easier to amend the gender on your birth certificate. Unfortunately, some are still lagging behind and require invasive surgical procedures. You'll need to check the requirements in your state to find out what evidence they need to update your birth certificate.
Links for Births, Deaths and Marraiges in each state/territory:
Other organisations including banks, uni/school, workplace and more
Most Australian organisations have processes in place to update your gender on their records.
Every organisation has their own policy, so you'll need to contact them directly. Sometimes it is listed on their website, but often it's not mentioned publicly and just treated in the same way as updating your personal details such as your name.
Having a passport is often all you need as proof of your gender. Some places will allow you to self-identify with no need for evidence.
You should not need any proof to update your title, or to remove your title altogether, but some places will have old systems that force you to have a title.
Some things to be aware of when you update your gender:
If you pass away and have superannuation, your super company will require your death certificate before they pay out your entitlement. If your gender on your death certificate doesn't match what they have on file, it may cause issues with getting your money paid to your estate.
You may choose to only update your gender with your super company when you update your birth certificate to avoid this possible difficulty.
People with an M gender marker are often charged higher prices for insurance such as health insurance and car insurance.
Statement from a medical practitioner
With a statement from a registered medical practitioner or psychologist, you can update your gender anywhere that uses the
Australian Government Guidelines for Recognition of sex and gender - this includes federal government departments, most things with state government, and many private organisations.
Even though a medical statement is legally valid as evidence of your gender, many people have found it easier to update their passport, then use the passport as the primary piece of evidence for everywhere else (besides birth certificates). If you are planning to update your passport, you will need your medical practitioner to fill in a separate form - see the "Passports" section for more info.
The required pieces of information that should be included in getting a statement from a medical practitioner or psychologist are:
About the medical practitioner or psychologist:
Your full name and your gender / gender identity
A declaration from them stating that they have treated you or evaluated your history (it
doesn’t need to describe or explain any medical intervention or psychological treatment)
Their letterhead including their full name and contact details
Their registration number from the Medical Board of Australia or Psychology Board of Australia or an equivalent overseas authority
Dealing with discrimination
Sadly, discrimination can and does happen - but there are things you can do about it.
Often, discrimination is a result of ignorance rather than intentional transphobia (although that does also happen). When you need to update your gender, one of the best things you can do is come prepared with an official document that supports your request, and if you can, find out the company's procedures before you contact them. You can also take along a support person if you have someone who can help you.
Anywhere that refuses to update your recorded gender when you've provided valid proof is likely breaking Australian anti-discrimination law. If you've made your request appropriately (such as filling in a form if it's required, and providing reasonable evidence), and you are still being refused, a complaint to the company often resolves the issue quickly.
Unfortunately some forms of discrimination are still legal in Australia, and some legal processes are very out of date and invasive. A lot of positive change has happened in a relatively short period of time and you do have the power to influence changes to the law! Our community has won many battles, and we will keep fighting to improve things. If you've had a difficult experience, you're not alone - please reach out to the community, or to a legal support service, and get help to work through it.
Evidence needed to update your recorded gender
All government organisations, and many private organisations in Australia will allow you to update your gender with any one of:
A statement from a registered medical practitioner or registered psychologist which specifies your gender
A valid Australian government travel document, such as a valid passport, which specifies your gender
A state or territory birth certificate, or a document from an Australian Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages recognising a change of gender
The main exception is getting your birth certificate updated, which has different rules depending on the state or territory you were born in.
For more information, you can read the
Australian Government guidelines for the recognition of sex and gender.
A state or territory gender recognition certificate or recognised details certificate showing a change in sex
Where to start
Updating your gender can be scary or overwhelming - just remember that you're not alone, and you're not the first! Amazing pioneers have paved the way and more and more people are living as their true selves every day. Wherever you update your gender, it's likely that plenty of us have done the same, too.
What order to update documents in
You can update your details at organisations in whatever order you like, depending on what works for you. There's no "right" order.
Options for gender marker
Some places will allow a non-binary gender marker such as X, and some will only allow a binary M or F, although the rules change over time and many places are gradually becoming more inclusive.
What documents to start with
Once you have one government-issued ID updated with your correct gender you can then use that to update your gender more easily in other places. If you have a passport, that can be a good document to start with. If not, most places are required to accept a statement from a medical practitioner as evidence, but you will need to check the rules for each document or record that you want to update because each place has different requirements.
If you're not sure about legal gender change
If you are questioning, or unsure about whether legal gender change is right for you, many places will allow you to update your title (eg change Miss to Mr, or gender-neutral Mx) or to remove your title altogether. Your title is not a legal identifier so you should not need to provide any evidence for your request - but bear in mind some places are still in the dark ages and you may need to push for this in some places. See our legal resources section below if you need any help.