B.C. legislation would allow more transgender people to change sex on birth certificate

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      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."

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      Mar 10, 2014 at 5:51pm

      What would a week be without a photo of Spence Herbert at the top of a story? I look forward to the next instalment.


      Mar 10, 2014 at 9:23pm

      YEAH Spencer Chandra Herbert. Keep up the important work.

      A lot of respect and common sense goes a very long way! Forever moving forward is a heck of a lot better than being stagnant and/or drifting backwards. Advice to other BC/Canadian legislators - lets pick up the pace already.

      Special shout out to Harriette Cunningham: you are a star.

      Decadent, Depraved

      Mar 11, 2014 at 9:55am

      This is decadent and depraved. I am sorry, ain't it funny how every "progressive" action in BC would have been in the Radical Left Playbook c. 1968? Time to move on---maybe something that benefits everyone, like legalizing drugs?

      The Straight is transparent in whom it idolizes.

      Mar 11, 2014 at 12:39pm

      Ditto to 'G' above, this is the third Herbert inspired article in as many weeks. Why does the Straight wrap itself around such a weak liberal? Probably, and understandably, because it shares his tired, empty politics.

      be who you want

      Mar 11, 2014 at 2:51pm

      But you were BORN the sex you were.
      I think you shouldn't be able to change that fact on your birth certificate.

      next what, change the date, the weight, the time, the city, hell the country??
      like it or not you were born as you were. why is it necessary to change your birth certificate, what are you ashamed of?


      Mar 11, 2014 at 4:37pm

      @be who you want

      I totally get what you are saying.

      But did you know that adoptees (like myself) are issued with new birth certificates showing the adopted name?

      My birth certificate is a kind of legal fiction because it doesn't show my original name. Nonethless, it does describe one specific individual and therefore is reliable primary identification.

      Given that, I can't see why a birth certificate showing the revised (externally presented) gender identity is not ok.

      Paula Audette

      Mar 11, 2014 at 7:08pm

      For those of you who have never experienced what it is like to be transgender, you might think that a birth certificate is no big deal. I can tell you that it is, because it is a societal and legal affirmation of who you are. You may work in a particular field that has rewards for performance. Receiving an award for being the best whatever is an affirmation of all your work and sacrifice. It is like that with a birth certificate for those of us who have transitioned.

      I agree with comment that I was born the sex that I was. We're speaking of gender here, and these are two different constructs. Sex is biological; gender is social/political/relational. I haven't changed my sex at all, but I did change my gender.

      Decadent, Depraved

      Mar 11, 2014 at 8:42pm

      My self-identity is deeply rooted in others regarding me as a Lord! I'm not a crank at all, and you best respect muh identitah!!!!

      keeping my opinion

      Mar 11, 2014 at 9:04pm

      A person may have all the plastic surgery that want, change their name,whatever,
      but it shouldn't replace the fact that they were born either a male or female, way before they even entered the world their gender(sex organs) determined.

      so change what you want but do you really want to erase that fact? How sad.

      My point a birth certificate is just that, it states your gender/sex/city/country/ at BIRTH.
      Not what you added or removed later in life. You are denying your truth.


      Apr 29, 2014 at 10:48pm

      What does it matter if someone was born physically male or female ? How about some attractive girl who hid her package all her life, her ovaries are dead and she cannot have children, yet I'm sure most of you who didn't know her history who judge her on face value line a cover of a book.

      Gender is not physical it is psychological which is why some trans folk pursue surgery and meds, it helps them. What business is it of anyone's whats is or was in another persons pants ?

      I'm trans and I endorce this message