Culture

British Columbia’s Human Rights Tribunal to Consider Eliminating Gender from Birth Certificates

Birth certificates are so not inclusive.

The Human Rights Tribunal in British Columbia will consider completely eliminating gender designations from birth certificates in response to complaints from the Trans Alliance Society (TAS) and other transgender individuals, according to an article in the National Post.

According to the complainants, we need to stop acting as if doctors can tell the sex of a baby just by looking at the baby’s genitals:

Birth certificates [may] give false information about people and characterize them in a way that is actually wrong, that assumes to be right, and causes people . . . actual harm,” said transgender woman and TAS chair Morgane Oger.

“It’s considered true and infallible when it isn’t,” she added.

The complainant’s lawyer, barbara findlay (no, that’s not a typo — she spells her name in all lowercase letters because who are you to tell her she can’t), said that the current practice of putting “male” or “female” on birth certificates is downright wrong because: 1. Those are not the only two genders and 2. A person’s “gender develops” over time.

“Children are raised ‘as’ the birth-assigned gender, which is a crazy-making experience,” findlay said in an e-mail to the Post.

“Instead of living in a social reality that recognizes that gender develops, and does not exist at birth, those children have nothing to work with except that something feels profoundly wrong,” she added.

#related#Among the complainants are Colin and Megan Cunningham — the parents of Harriette Cunningham, a transgender child who became one of the first in British Columbia to have her birth certificate changed last year —  who claim that “Harriette was mistakenly assigned the gender ‘male’ at birth.”

“Since it is impossible to tell an individual’s gender at birth it is discriminatory to issue a birth certificate with that information on it,” the complaint stated.

Of course, the tribunal has simply agreed to review the complaints, which does not necessarily mean that the policy will change — especially considering how many people are still holding on to that antiquated view that the designations are helpful for statistical, scientific, and travel purposes.

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