Birth cer­tifi­cates get­ting gen­derneu­tral op­tion

Kingston Whig-Standard - - NATIONAL - JES­SICA SMITH CROSS

TORONTO — Gen­der-neu­tral birth cer­tifi­cates could be is­sued to those who want them in Ontario as early as next year, pro­vided the prov­ince can work out bu­reau­cratic hur­dles in­volv­ing other gov­ern­ments.

Ontario’s min­is­ter of gov­ern­ment and con­sumer ser­vices says con­sul­ta­tions will be held on the mat­ter this sum­mer and the prov­ince is work­ing to en­sure a gen­derneu­tral birth cer­tifi­cate would be legally rec­og­nized in other ju­ris­dic­tions.

Tracy MacCharles says she’s hope­ful Ontario can is­sue gen­der-neu­tral birth cer­tifi­cates by 2018.

She says she has been closely fol­low­ing the story of Joshua M. Fer­gu­son, an Ontario-born film­maker who iden­ti­fies as nei­ther male nor fe­male and has ap­plied 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.

MacCharles says she knows the is­sue is im­por­tant to the trans and non-bi­nary com­mu­nity.

Cur­rently, Ontario of­fers gen­der-neu­tral op­tions for driv­ers’ li­cences and health cards but not for birth cer­tifi­cates.

Fer­gu­son, who lives in Van­cou­ver, is also a writer and ac­tivist.

The 34-year-old has sub­mit­ted a physi­cian let­ter along with the ap­pli­ca­tion to con­firm that the sex on their cur­rent birth cer­tifi­cate does not match their gen­der iden­tity. Last month, ac­tivist Gemma Hickey ap­plied for a non-bi­nary birth cer­tifi­cate in New­found­land and Labrador, but no decision has been an­nounced.

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