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Aussie gov't apologizes to transsexual

SYDNEY, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- A transsexual has won an apology from the Australian government for having to travel on a passport identifying her as a man, officials confirm.

Stefanie Imbruglia, 42, a first cousin of pop singer Natalie Imbruglia, applied for a passport in 2007 to travel to Bangkok for sex reassignment surgery. Having already lived for two years as a woman, she asked to be identified on her passport as a female, but the government denied her request.

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With the passport identifying her as a male, Imbruglia says she was subjected to ridicule by passport officers in both Australia and at the airport when she arrived in Bangkok.

Back in Australia after successful surgery, she filed a complaint against the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which issues passports.

The government has sent Imbruglia a written apology for "any discomfort, distress or embarrassment as a result of your dealings with the Sydney Passport Office," The Sydney Morning Herald reported Saturday.

The department has now agreed to issue transsexuals traveling abroad for gender surgery a passport in the appropriate gender, the Herald says.

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