Ontario just issued its first non-binary birth certificate in what 35-year-old recipient Joshua M. Ferguson is calling a victory for the non-binary and transgender community.
Ferguson, who uses the pronouns they, them, and their, applied to change the indicated sex on their birth registration to “non-binary” in May 2017, CBC reported.
The case was pushed back, so Ferguson filed a human rights complaint, which led to the new changes in policy, according to CBC.
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There is now the option to obtain a birth certification with an ‘X’ for non-binary in place of an ‘M’ or ‘F’ in the "sex" field. People can also choose not to display a description at all.
"Ontario's new policy will save lives in the trans community. A birth certificate is the most vital form of ID for personhood. Being officially counted and recognized is empowering," Ferguson said in a release on Monday.
Last August, the federal government announced it would offer gender-neutral passports.
As I stood at the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights monument this morning at a press conference for my non-binary birth certificate, I felt hope in my heart for the time when all of us are valued and respected as human beings. It’s what truly matters. pic.twitter.com/3TQ9lPps4l— Joshua M. Ferguson (@joshuamferguson) May 7, 2018
"By introducing an 'X' gender designation in our government-issued documents, we are taking an important step towards advancing equality for all Canadians regardless of gender identity or expression," Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said in a statement regarding passports last summer.
But the change on a birth certificate means even more.
"This moment not only reaffirms who we are, and our protection under the law in Ontario and in Canada, but it's a relief because we are counted. That's quite an incredible feeling, because it makes it clear that we exist," Ferguson told CBC.
Gender-inclusive birth certificates are also available in Newfoundland and Labrador and in the Northwest Territories.
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