History was just made in Canada. Baby Searyl Alti has been issued an official Canadian health card without a gender identification. Searyl is the first baby in the world that has a U, for unassigned rather than the traditional M or F, as sex on the card.
Kori Doty, Searyl’s nonbinary, transgender parent, has been fighting since November to keep any gender identification off of official British Columbia government documents. Doty believes that Searyl will discover their gender. “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,” Doty said.
“Certainly, our culture is obsessed with (whether a baby is) a boy or a girl, but the government doesn’t have any business certifying that information when they don’t know it to be true,” said human rights lawyer barbara findlay. The lawyer is working with Doty to battle the Vital Statistics Agency’s decision to refuse a birth certificate without gender assignment for Searyl. Doty bypassed the genital inspection doctors generally do at birth to assign gender as she gave birth at a friend’s house, but both findlay and the parent argue that inspecting genitalia at birth will not decide the sex or gender the newborn will choose to identify as. “A baby’s gender identity develops over time, not when a doctor examines its genitals right after birth,” said findlay.
Doty and the British Columbia Trans Alliance have presented a case to British Columbia’s Human Rights Tribunal demanding the right to change their birth certificates.
While British Columbia is the first known government authority to issue a health card without gender identification, other Canadian provinces, Ontario and Alberta, are considering adding a nonbinary option to their official documents as well. Oregon officially began issuing gender neutral IDs this July —the first state. About the genderless card, findlay said “For us, it’s a huge step forward.” The result of their case is still unknown, but, regardless, there is movement happening for gender neutrality and non binary individuals.
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