APTN National News
Human rights and LGBTQ advocates are applauding a new change in the Northwest Territories, and the Yukon that will allow a third sex option on birth certificates without a trip to a doctor’s office.
The two territories have become the first jurisdictions in Canada to make this change.
In July, anyone born in either territory can now sign birth registration forms amended to the gender of their choosing.
“For so long trans people have been sitting along side queer people to get them where we need to go and lobby with us and for us,” said Chelsea Thacker, executive director of the Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife.
“It is long overdue.”
Lane MacIntosh, who is newly navigating transition, this is a big stride in inclusivity.
“Before the amendment happened you needed to show proof of gender reassignment surgery,” said MacIntosh. “Which is one not necessary, two – super invasive and three it really dehumanizes someone.
“It takes away from the autonomy we get as individuals for a piece of ID that we are entitled to.”
For those from remote communities with out-dated attitudes, having to go to a doctor as a gay person in the first place can be daunting.
“There are a lot of biases and just some preconceived notions in the medical community itself that would make it really hard for people that want to change their gender on their birth certificates,” said Coleen Canney, a volunteer with NWT Pride.
But people said the system is still far from perfect.
As it stands now, the forms require a person to fill out both your sex and gender without an option for non-binary individuals.
“They are very different and having and so it is a little confusing having the gender and the sex on identification,” said Thacker. “The government hasn’t quite figured out the language surrounding that.”
And there’s a problem of tying into the federal system.
Thacker said while individuals can change their sex to X on birth certificates in the territories, it may cause problems with acquiring a passport.
“It means that if you are marked non-binary you won’t necessarily be eligible to get a passport,” she said. “You need two pieces of ID in order to get a passport and on a Canadian passport it is either male or female.”
While the change is being welcomed by LGBT groups in the territories, they said there is still a lot of work to do federally.
“For something like a passport or a birth certificate people have to be aware that it is going to be fraught with difficulties until everyone is on the same page,” said Shaun Ladue, LGBTQ advocate from Ross River, Yukon.
“Internationally and globally. Up until now, it has been very hard to get a gender marker changed from one sex to another sex.”
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