The province of Ontario, Canada is aiming to issue “gender neutral” birth certificates as early as next year, with the government working to ensure the birth certificates will be legally recognized in other jurisdictions.
Ontario’s minister of government and consumer services Tracey MacCharles said the province is determined to push the legislation through and consultations will be held on the matter this summer.
MacCharles said she believes Ontario will be a trendsetter and the first of many provinces in Canada to issue gender neutral birth certificates.
CTV reports that MacCharles has asked the ministry to reach out to Joshua M. Ferguson – an Ontario-born filmmaker who applied last week to have a change of sex designation on their birth certificate from male to non-binary – a term used to define someone who doesn’t identify with either gender. The minister said she knows the issue is important to the “trans and non-binary community.”
Ferguson, who is demanding to be referred to by the gender-neutral pronouns “they/them/their,” said they’re pleased to see the government moving forward on the issue.
The 34-year-old, who is also a writer and activist, said he has a right to a non-binary birth certificate given Ontario’s laws against discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Ferguson said he’d hoped to receive the new certificate by this summer.
“If it doesn’t happen until 2018, this is definitely a problem for me personally, because it would continue to cause me emotional grief over having a birth certificate and all my other forms of legal documentation that are currently discriminating against me, because I’m not a male or a female,” Ferguson, who has XY chromosomes, said.
Currently, Ontario offers gender-neutral options for drivers’ licenses and health cards but not for birth certificates.
Ferguson, who lives in Vancouver, has submitted a physician letter along with the application to confirm that the sex on their current birth certificate does not match his gender identity.