A Canadian parent is fighting for the right to not give their baby a gender after arguing that a simple biological examination cannot uncover the child’s true identity.
Kori Doty, who does not identify as either male or female and uses the pronoun “they”, says their eight-month-old baby has still not been granted a birth certificate because officials say a gender of either male or female must be registered.
Doty, who is transsexual, says they want their child, named Searyl Atli, to be able to choose its own gender when it is old enough, and has launched a judicial review against the policy.
"I'm raising Searyl in such a way that until they have the sense of self and command of vocabulary to tell me who they are, I'm recognising them as a baby and trying to give them all the love and support to be the most whole person that they can be outside of the restrictions that come with the boy box and the girl box," they told CBC.
"I want my kid to have all of the space to be the most whole and complete person that they can be.”
Although the province of British Columbia, where Doty lives, is refusing to issue a birth certificate that does not state a gender, it did agree to provide the child with a health card with a “U” for gender – believed to stand for “undetermined” or “unassigned”.
Doty claims a medical examination at birth cannot determine a child’s true gender because a baby might be intersex or grow up to identify with a gender that is different to their biological sex.
"When I was born, doctors looked at my genitals and made assumptions about who I would be, and those assignments followed me and followed my identification throughout my life," they said.
"Those assumptions were incorrect, and I ended up having to do a lot of adjustments since then."
Doty’s lawyer, barbara findlay, who does not spell her name with capital letters, said British Columbia only issues birth certificates with a male or female gender designation. Other provinces, including Ontario and Alberta, are reviewing their policy with a view to including a third option of a non-binary gender.
Doty and a group of other applicants have already brought a case before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal arguing for the right to change their own birth certificates to a non-binary gender designation.
Campaigners in the UK have called for British passports to be allowed to include a third gender for people who do not identify as male or female.
The Government said earlier this year that it is reviewing rules on how gender is registered on official documents.
“The UK already has strong laws in place to protect transgender people and we are committed to delivering further positive changes for them,” a spokesperson said in April.
“That is why we have committed to reviewing the Gender Recognition Act to look at ways of streamlining and de-medicalising the process for changing a person’s legal gender, as well as reviewing gender markers in official documents.”
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