Alex MacFarlane

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For other persons of the same name, see Alexander Macfarlane (disambiguation).

Alex MacFarlane is an intersex person born with XXY sex chromosomes in Victoria, Australia. Alex MacFarlane is believed to be the first holder of an indeterminate birth certificate and passport.[1][2][3][4][5]

Holder of first Australian sex non-specific identification documents[edit]

Alex MacFarlane is believed to be the first person in Australia to obtain a birth certificate recording sex as indeterminate, and the first Australian passport with an 'X' sex marker in 2003.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

Alex MacFarlane was reported as receiving a passport with an 'X' sex descriptor in early 2003.[1][2][5] This is stated by the West Australian to be on the basis of a challenge by MacFarlane, using an indeterminate birth certificate issued by the State of Victoria. The West Australian newspaper reported in January 2003 that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade "had decided to accommodate people whose birth certificates recorded their sex as indeterminate ... Alex is also believed to be the first Australian issued with a birth certificate acknowledging a gender other than male or female. Alex's says "indeterminate – also known as intersex". It was issued in Alex's birth State of Victoria, which unlike WA, changed its policy to allow the category".[1]

Australians with sex non-specific or indeterminate identification documents[edit]

Norrie May-Welby is a Scottish-Australian who is popularly – but erroneously – often regarded as the first person in the world to obtain officially indeterminate, unspecified or "genderless" status.[7][8][9] May-Welby became the first transsexual person in Australia to pursue a legal status of neither a man nor a woman, in 2010.[7][8][10][11]

Councillor Tony Briffa JP, of Organisation Intersex International Australia and the City of Hobsons Bay, Victoria, previously acknowledged as the world's first openly intersex public official and mayor,[12][13] states on Tony's website that "my birth certificate is silent as to my sex".[14][15]

Australian government policy on recognition of 'X' sex or gender[edit]

Government policy between 2003 and 2011 was to issue passports with an 'X' marker only to people who could "present a birth certificate that notes their sex as indeterminate"[16][4]

In 2011, the Australian Passport Office introduced new guidelines for issuing of passports with a new gender, and broadened availability of an X descriptor to all individuals with documented "indeterminate" sex.[17][18] The revised policy stated that "sex reassignment surgery is not a prerequisite to issue a passport in a new gender. Birth or citizenship certificates do not need to be amended."[19]

Australian Commonwealth guidelines on the recognition of sex and gender, published in June 2013, now extend the use an 'X' gender marker to any adult who chooses that option, in all dealings with the Commonwealth government and its agencies. The option is being introduced over a three-year period. The guidelines also clarify that the federal government collects data on gender, rather than sex.[20]


  1. ^ a b c d "X marks the spot for intersex Alex", West Australian, via 11 January 2003
  2. ^ a b c "Ingrid Holme, "Hearing People's Own Stories", in Science as Culture, Volume 17, Issue 3, 2008"
  3. ^ a b Newsletter of the Sociology of Sexualities Section of the American Sociological Association, American Sociological Association Sexualities News, Volume 6, Issue 1, Summer 2003
  4. ^ a b c Ten years of ‘X’ passports, and no protection from discrimination, Organisation Intersex International (OII) Australia, 19 January 2013
  5. ^ a b c "Neither man nor woman", Sydney Morning Herald. 27 June 2010
  6. ^ Passports Non-Gender-Specific?,, 2 July 2010
  7. ^ a b "No sex for me, please! Ex-transsexual Australian Norrie May-Welby is first legally genderless person", New York Daily News. 16 March 2010.
  8. ^ a b "Briton is recognised as world's first officially genderless person", The Telegraph. 15 March 2010.
  9. ^ "Norrie May-Welby's battle to regain status as the world's first legally genderless person", Daily Life Australia. 8 November 2013
  10. ^ "I'm not a man... or a woman". Scottish Sun. 15 March 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2010. 
  11. ^ "Norrie May-Welby: The World's First Legally Genderless Person", The Huffington Post. 18 March 2010.
  12. ^ "Intersex Mayor Elected in Australia",, 9 December 2011
  13. ^ "Tony Briffa Of Australia's City Of Hobsons Bay Becomes World's First Intersex Mayor",, 10 December 2011
  14. ^ "OII VP Tony Briffa to wed partner in NZ ceremony – Gay News Network", Gay News Network, 27 September 2013
  15. ^ "About Tony ... | cr Tony Briffa",, 2012
  16. ^ Sex Files: the legal recognition of sex in documents and government records. Concluding paper of the sex and gender diversity project (2009), Australian Human Rights Commission, March 2009.
  17. ^ "Getting a passport made easier for sex and gender diverse people". The Hon Kevin Rudd MP. 14 September 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2011. 
  18. ^ On Australian passports and “X” for sex, Organisation Intersex International (OII) Australia, 9 October 2011
  19. ^ "Sex and Gender Diverse Passport Applicants". Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Australian Government. Retrieved 23 December 2011. 
  20. ^ Australian Government Attorney General's Department, June 2013, "Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender"