Skepticism as feds mull gender on ID
Lawyer wary of trans input being ignored
The federal government is looking for input from Vancouver’s trans people on how it collects information about gender identity, but a local human-rights lawyer is skeptical about whether it will impact the final decision.
Community members will meet in Vancouver on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the future of ID cards and whether a person’s sex or gender should be printed on passports, driver’s licences and birth certificates.
The federal government’s LGBTQ2 secretariat will host the meeting. Among those planning to attend are members of the Gender-free ID Coalition, including lawyer barbara findlay (who spells her name with lower-case letters) who doesn’t think gender should be on any ID cards.
“There are more than two genders, and gender is fluid. That means that the binary M-F (male or female) system is useless … (because) there are people who identify as something other than male or female.”
One option, which some countries have started allowing on passports and which Ontario now allows on its ID cards, is to put an X instead of an M or F on ID cards. However, findlay doesn’t think the idea makes sense.
“It doesn’t work simply to add an X or some other third option because gender is a fluid thing that changes from time to time,” she said.
findlay said she’s weary of agencies using consultations as “window dressing” to make it look like they’re considering public feedback.
“I have mixed feelings,” she said. “If the government is serious about listening to and taking advice from people, about the harm that is caused by gender markers (on IDS) … then yes I would look forward to it.”
“On the other hand, if they’re going to go home, write a report and do whatever they want anyways, then no, I’m not,” Findlay said.
“I’m a bit cynical; I’ve been doing these things for a long time.”
the trans Pride flag flies outside Vancouver City Hall.