The information on your identification seems pretty straight forward. For people who identify as transgender or gender fluid, the option of male or female doesn’t necessarily apply. Therefore a Saskatchewan family is taking on the judicial system representing transgender and gender fluid youth in getting identification rules changed. They want the ability to be identified as “U” or “X” on official government ID.
Jordyn Dyck of Regina does not identify as either a male or female, but the 14 year old’s government identification doesn’t show that. “I feel like I can’t be the person I am truly” said Jordyn. That’s why his dad is going to court, along with a handful of other families, suing the government for the right to remove or change the gender on birth certificates for minors. He says it’s a violation of human rights ” Kids are killing themselves over this, it is super important that we look at this and keep our kids healthy.”
Since last March, transgender people no longer have to provide proof of their gender re-assignment surgery. But that doesn’t help people like Jordyn, who don’t identify with either gender. Cases like Jordyn’s are popping up all over the country. In what could be the first case in the world, a BC baby was recently born and was issued a provincial health card with the gender marker set as a “U”, this comes as the baby’s parent fights to allow their child to develop their own gender identity. This was the first case in BC, and in Canada.
Searyl’s parent Kori Doty, is going to court against the Vital Statistics Agency for a refusal to issue a birth certificate for the child. Since the baby was born outside the medical system, there was no ‘genital inspection’ done. “We’re not actually asking to have anyone’s ID changed against their will. We’re just asking to change the structure of how identification, particularly the birth certificate starts out” Doty said. “The goal is for the child to discover their own gender identity, and so far the discussion hasn’t been a problem, even when people ask if the baby is a boy or a girl. Often, I’ll just say I don’t know yet, or I’m not rushing to apply those types of labels on this kid right now, they’re just a baby.”
A recent University of BC study found that 50% of trans youth living in Saskatchewan and Manitoba have attempted suicide, while 60% have engaged in some form of self harming behavior. The Dycks aren’t alone, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission will be representing a Saskatoon family who are making the same request. “We believe we can prove on a balance of probabilities that the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission has been violated with respect to this particular child on these particular facts.” says David Arnot, Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission Chief Commissioner. The Ministry of Justice says “they are aware of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission’s decision to apply for a hearing” The Ministry does not feel it is appropriate to comment further at this time, because the matter is heading to court.
Dustin Dyck doesn’t think the mater needs to be this complicated. “It’s a letter on a piece of paper. If they changed their mind, we’ll put a new letter on, even if you’ve got to pay a fee, it’s not something that’s complicated, we’re saving kids lives by changing it”
Last year Alberta introduced legislation that will allow people who did not identify themselves as male or female to put an “X” on documents, including birth certificates. In the spring, Ontario started drivers to use an “X” on licences, but not everyone supports the change. Angus Reid polls shows 51% of Canada oppose gender neutral identification. Canada is making strides in creating an equality friendly country.
This article was written by Stacey Leochko.