'Lazy homophobia': Passport application 'offensive to same-sex families'

A Melbourne mother has accused the Australian government of “lazy homophobia” while lodging a passport application for her child, because the form doesn’t account for same-sex parents.

Jessica Boyd, who is planning an overseas holiday this month with her partner Liz Williams and their five-month-old baby Grace, has called the Australian passport application process “a joke” because it requires the child’s “mother” and “father” listed on the form.

The 34-year-old is calling for the government to update it’s “antiquated” application process as a priority, to make it more accessible for same-sex couples who want travel with their children.

Mum Jessica Boyd (right) pictured with her partner Liz Williams and baby Grace has called the Australian Passport application process outdated and offensive to same-sex parents. Source: Jessica Boyd
Mum Jessica Boyd (right) pictured with her partner Liz Williams and baby Grace has called the Australian Passport application process outdated and offensive to same-sex parents. Source: Jessica Boyd

Ms Boyd told Yahoo7 she was unsure how to fill out the form, given her daughter’s birth certificate lists her as “mother” and her partner as “parent” and found the response from the passport application helpline was frustrating and hurtful.

"It's such a joke. The passport office has 'mother' and 'father' only, and no other options.

“Their solution is to cross our ‘father’ and write ‘whatever else’.

“As a government institution, I am just baffled they don’t at the very least update the text on the online form to ‘Parent 1’ and ‘Parent 2’, or something like that, as that is so easy to do," Ms Boyd said.

Jessica Boyd is planning an overseas holiday this month with her partner Liz Williams and their four-month old baby Grace. Source: Jessica Boyd
Jessica Boyd is planning an overseas holiday this month with her partner Liz Williams and their four-month old baby Grace. Source: Jessica Boyd

“It’s lazy homophobia. She acted like it wasn’t a big deal on the phone… It doesn’t seem like a big deal to them, because nobody has stood up and told them it’s offensive.

“It’s discriminatory to any family that’s not your standard [mother and father] family,” the woman told Yahoo7.

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As it's an official government document, the couple is also concerned about crossing things off and not filling out the application correctly, but said the employee assured them it would be alright in this instance.

With same-sex marriage now legal in Australia, Ms Boyd said she is disappointed the passport application process is lagging behind other legal reforms.

The child application requires details of a mother and father, rather than non-gendered parents. Source: Australian Passport Office
The child application requires details of a mother and father, rather than non-gendered parents. Source: Australian Passport Office

Ms Boyd also added that language on the form like “maiden name” was outdated, and noted it did not account for non-binary people who are not comfortable being defined as “male” or “female”.

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman confirmed that the current passport application forms refer only to “mother” and “father”.

"DFAT is developing a new online application process with updated terminology to reflect the diversity of Australians with parental responsibility," the spokeswoman said.

A same-sex couple have said Australia's passport application process is lagging behind other legal reforms. Source: Getty, file
A same-sex couple have said Australia's passport application process is lagging behind other legal reforms. Source: Getty, file

"With this new process, each client with parental responsibility will be able to specify their relationship to their child.

"The new online application process will be available to families in Australia this year. In the meantime, DFAT encourages clients to cross out and over-write parental terms on the hard copy forms to reflect their actual circumstances."

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