B.C. legislation would allow more transgender people to change sex on birth certificate
NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert calls it "good news".
The B.C. Liberal government today (March 10) introduced legislation that would allow more transgender people to have the sex changed on their birth certificates.
Herbert told the Georgia Straight that, at the present, revisions to the sex designation on birth registration are limited to trans people undergoing sex reassignment surgery.
The Vancouver-West End MLA noted the government's bill would also make it possible for trans children to have their birth certificates altered to reflect their gender identity.
"It's a step forward," Chandra Herbert said by phone. "Obviously, there's more to do, I think, to make the health system and our government systems more accessible to transgender people. But I'd written the government, making this request."
The proposed changes to the rules for amendments to the sex designation on birth registration are included in Bill 17 (Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 2014), introduced by Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton.
If passed, the bill will allow people to apply to the registrar general to revise their sex designation.
Applicants would be required to declare their intention to "maintain the gender identity that corresponds with the desired sex designation". They would also need a statement from a practising physician or psychologist that "confirms that the sex designation on the applicant's birth registration does not correspond with the applicant's gender identity".
Minors would need the consent of their parents and guardians.
"A birth certificate issued after the making of an amendment under this section must be prepared as if the person's original birth registration had been made containing the sex designation as amended," the bill states.
While he called the new legislation "heartening", Chandra Herbert noted the B.C. Liberal government has rejected his member's bills calling for gender identity and expression to be protected by the B.C. Human Rights Code.
"I'll do it again," Chandra Herbert said. "You know, we'll try and eventually we'll get there."
Chandra Herbert pointed to Harriette Cunningham, a transgender girl in Comox, who called for legislative change so trans kids can get their birth certificates amended to reflect their gender identity.
"I think it shows that sometimes it starts with one person and you can get real change," Chandra Herbert said. "Many trans folks have been making this request for years. But I think it started to take on new urgency when young Harriette made her plea quite publicly."