Canadian Province Considers Removing Gender From Its Birth Certificates

Canadian Province Considers Removing Gender From Its Birth Certificates

As Bruce Jenner shows the world that the idea of gender may be more fluid than most assume, up in Canada the Human Rights Tribunal in British Columbia will consider removing gender designations from birth certificates. The moves comes in response to a complaint from the Trans Alliance Society (TAS) and a few other affected parties, according to media reports.

"We need to stop acting as if doctors can tell the sex of a baby just by looking at the baby’s genitals: Birth certificates [can] give false information about people and characterize them in a way that is actually wrong, that assumes to be right, and causes people actual harm,” said transgender woman and TAS chair Morgane Oger. “It’s considered true and infallible when it isn’t,” she added.

The lawyer representing the group, Barbara Findlay said that the current practice of putting “male” or “female” on birth certificates is incorrect because those are not the only two genders and that a person’s “gender develops” over time.

“Children are raised ‘as’ the birth-assigned gender, which is a crazy-making experience,” Findlay said via e-mail. “Instead of living in a social reality that recognizes that gender develops, and does not exist at birth, those children have nothing to work with except that something feels profoundly wrong,” she added.

Among the other complainants are Colin and Megan Cunningham, the parents of Harriette Cunningham, a transgender child who became one of the first in British Columbia to have her birth certificate changed last year.

The parents allege that “Harriette was mistakenly assigned the gender ‘male’ at birth.” “Since it is impossible to tell an individual’s gender at birth it is discriminatory to issue a birth certificate with that information on it,” the complaint reads.

At this stage the tribunal has simply agreed to look into the complaints, which doesn't mean that the policy will change. Yet British Columbia is one of the most liberal and progressive territories in the world. It also comes as Bruce Jenner, now known as Catilin, breaks the internet with a massive publicity tour celebrating his recent gender change.

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