Skep­ti­cism as feds mull gender on ID

Lawyer wary of trans in­put be­ing ig­nored

Metro Canada (Vancouver) - - Metro News - Tessa Vikan­der

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.”

Emily Jack­son/metro file

the trans Pride flag flies out­side Van­cou­ver City Hall.

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