Metro Weekly

Canadian province will allow birth certificates without gender marker

Saskatchewan government made the change after a 2014 human rights complaint

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan — Photo: dsim249 / Wikimedia Commons

A Canadian province has ruled that citizens can remove gender markers from their birth certificates.

The Saskatchewan government will allow citizens to change or remove a birth certificate’s gender marker, following a 2014 human rights complaint.

Fran Forsberg filed the case on behalf of her daughter, Renn, because she was not allowed to have her gender marker changed from her assigned sex at birth. Once the case reached court, Forsberg requested that her daughter’s gender be completely removed from the document.

Prior to the hearing, the government of Saskatchewan and a provincial judge agreed to the changes on the birth certificates, allowing for its complete removal.

Forsberg was overjoyed with the decision, calling it a victory for gender non-conforming people.

“I’m just so glad it’s over and I am so happy for other children, as well as other non-binary people,” Forsberg said to HuffPost. “Hopefully this will start the ball rolling for people educating and opening their minds and hearts for the rest of the world. There’s no reason to have gender on government ID or birth certificates. No reason at all.”

In the United States, an intersex person from Colorado is asking a federal court to order the U.S. State Department to issue them a passport that correctly reflects their gender identity.

Dana Zzyym, who goes by “they/theirs/them” pronouns, is asking for a third “X” option to be allowed, but the State Department has thus far refused to provide a non-binary or third gender option on its passport application form.

Paul Castillo, a staff attorney for Lambda Legal, which is representing Zzyym, cites Saskatchewan’s decision as a model for what his client hopes to gain.

“The judge had questions about whether or not it would make a difference to the state department if people started presenting applications for a passport with an “X” gender marker on their license or birth certificates or various legal documents,” Castillo says. “The State Department said it would not make any difference to them, at least at this point. In their view, no legal document changes would convince them that there should be a gender marker other than male or female. And that’s what we’re arguing today.”

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