Newfoundland and Labrador Pledge Gender-Neutral ID

By Whitten, Elizabeth | Herizons, Fall 2017 | Go to article overview

Newfoundland and Labrador Pledge Gender-Neutral ID


Whitten, Elizabeth, Herizons


(ST. JOHN'S N.L.) Gemma Hickey will no longer be at the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in November to challenge the provincial Vital Statistics Act.

The government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced in late September that it will introduce legislation this fall to allow its vital statistics branch to issue gender neutral birth certificates-which is precisely what Hickey wanted.

"I am so proud that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador will be introducing this historic legislation and will soon be issuing birth certificates that reflect non-binary status," Hickey said. "Having official documents that display how I identify is of great importance to me and many other non-binary Canadians."

Hickey identifies as non-binary and prefers to use they (them, their) as a personal pronouns. They applied for a gender-neutral birth certificate at the Vital Statistics division of Service NL in April. The province's birth certificates offered just two gender options: male or female. Believed to be the first person in Canada to apply for a gender neutral birth certificate, Hickey says that having only male and female gender designations is unconstitutional.

"If you don't identify as male or female, there's no other category for you. You essentially don't exist," said Hickey. "And so, non-binary people have been erased by society because of this, because there's no category for us."

The province's intention to issue gender neutral birth certificates is in direct response to Hickey's court challenge.

"It ensures that non-binary people are not erased from society and reaffirms what experts have already confirmed: that there are more than two genders," Hickey said. …

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