• Dean Nelson

'X' gender identity now recognized on government ID in the Province of British Columbia, Canada

In a very exciting release earlier this week, the Province of British Columbia in Canada continues to lead the charge in Gender and Sexual Diversity. British Columbians who do not identify as male or female will have the choice to display an X as a third option in the gender field of their B.C.-issued driver's licence, identity card, birth certificate and BC Services Card.

"Since last summer, we have been working on changes to government documents in recognition and respect of people who do not identify as male or female," said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. "Including the X gender designation on key ID is an important step in this."

The ministries of Health, Citizens' Services and Attorney General have worked together to include an X designation option on government-issued identification documents. This option came into effect on Nov. 1, 2018.

"We are taking action to move British Columbia into the 21st century when it comes to gender identity," said Jinny Sims, Minister of Citizens' Services. "This is a step in the right direction to ensure that identity documents better reflect identity. It is the right thing to do."
"The lack of an alternative for those who do not identify with the male or female designation has previously resulted in cases that were being considered at the Human Rights Tribunal," said David Eby, Attorney General. "This change is a step in the right direction to promote inclusivity for all people in British Columbia."

The ministries are also exploring the next steps required to move to a non-medical model of gender identification to advance equity and inclusivity.

Gwen Haworth, trans community member and Trans Care BC project manager -

"As a trans individual, I know from personal experience that having identification documents that reflect who I am positively affects my access to education, employment, housing, health care and much more. I'm grateful that the Province is taking this action and confident that it will benefit many British Columbians and their families."

Dr. Marria Townsend, medical director, Trans Care BC -

"As a physician who works with trans and gender-diverse people, I have observed the multiple ways that non-binary people are invisiblized within our society, with negative impacts on their health and well-being. This is a positive step towards recognizing and affirming the humanity of those British Columbian's who don't identify as male or female."

Quick Facts:

* Trans Care BC defines non-binary as an umbrella term referring to diverse people whose gender identity is neither female nor male.

* Trans Care BC defines transgender as an umbrella term that describes a wide range of people whose gender identity differs from their assigned sex at birth.

* This change aligns with emerging national and international standards as established by organizations including Passport Canada and the United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organization.

BACKGROUNDERHow to change gender designation on an identity document

For people born in British Columbia:

* Submit a Change of Gender Designation Application form (VSA509a) along with a copy of the physician's or psychologist's confirmation form (VSA 510p) to the Vital Statistics Agency.

* Upon request, the Vital Statistics Agency will issue a birth certificate that reflects the new gender marker. There is a cost associated with getting a new birth certificate.

* Next, the person can send a copy of the new birth certificate to Health Insurance B.C. (HIBC) to allow them to update their system.

* HIBC will send a letter when the update has been completed and direct them to an Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) counter where they can have their driver's licence updated.

For people not born in B.C., but who are now B.C. residents:

* Submit a BC Services Card Change of Gender Designation Application form (BCSC509a), along with a copy of the physician's or psychologist's confirmation form (VSA 510p) to HIBC.

* HIBC will send a letter when the update has been completed and direct them to an ICBC counter where they can have their driver's licence updated.

* The Vital Statistics Agency cannot change gender designations on birth certificates from other jurisdictions. Minors' gender-change applications also require parental consent.

As part of B.C. moving forward with a non-medical model of gender identification, government will be reviewing the requirements for supporting documentation from health-care practitioners.

Vital Statistics forms are available online at:https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/life-events/order-certificates-copies

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