The Canadian province of British Columbia now recognizes a third gender marker on official IDs — gender X.
Tell me more!
British Columbians who don’t identify as male or female have the option of choosing ‘X’ in the gender field of state-issued identification. This includes driver’s licenses, state ID cards, birth certificates, and BC Services cards.
‘Since last summer, we have been working on changes to government documents in recognition and respect of people who do not identify as male or female,’ BC Health Minister Adrian Dix told Global News Canada.
‘Including the X gender designation on key ID is an important step in this.’
BC catching up
Last year, Joshua Ferguson, a non-binary person assigned male at birth, wasn’t permitted to use ‘X’ on their BC identification. Similarly, parent Kori Doty faced ongoing challenges with getting British Columbia to issue a non-binary birth certificate for their child.
But things are starting to change in Canada.
This year, Ferguson traveled to the province of Ontario to receive Canada’s first non-binary birth certificate. Additionally, a judge in the province of Saskatchewan ordered the removal of gender markers on birth certificates entirely.
‘Well I am very thankful residents will now be able to apply for X marker for sex on their BC driver’s license and care card and other forms of identification,’ Ferguson told Global News Canada. ‘In actual fact I haven’t been issued my correct BC ID with an X marker [that] I have applied for 16 months ago and had rejected by the BC government.’
‘For 16 months I was forced to identify as either M or F. I experienced ridicule, embarrassment and anxiety each and every time I had to present my BC identification,’ Ferguson continued.
The British Columbian government is currently meeting with leaders of other provinces about the change. The case is still pending before the BC Human Rights Tribunal.
It is unclear if Ferguson will have to reapply, considering their initial application was rejected.
What people are saying
‘The lack of an alternative for those who do not identify with the male or female designation has previously resulted in cases that were being considered at the Human Rights Tribunal,’ said Attorney General David Eby. ‘This change is a step in the right direction to promote inclusivity for all people in British Columbia.’
‘As a trans individual, I know from personal experience that having identification documents that reflect who I am positively affects my access to education, employment, housing, health care and much more,’ said Trans Care BC project manager Gwen Haworth.
‘I’m grateful that the province is taking this action. And confident that it will benefit many British Columbians and their families.’
Trans Care BC medical director Marria Townsend echoed this sentiment.
‘As a physician who works with trans and gender-diverse people, I have observed the multiple ways that non-binary people are invisiblized within our society, with negative impacts on their health and well-being,’ Townsend said.
‘This is a positive step towards recognizing and affirming the humanity of those British Columbians who don’t identify as male or female.’