Alberta gives new birth certificate to 12-year-old boy who was born a girl
(UPDATE June 19, 2014: This article was updated to include more information on the April ruling by an Alberta judge that found a provincial law dealing with birth certificates violates the rights of transgender people.)
EDMONTON – A 12-year-old transgender Alberta boy has been granted a new birth certificate that recognizes him as male.
Wren Kauffman was presented with the new document on Sunday in Edmonton during a Pride festival brunch hosted by the city’s mayor.
The province’s culture minister, Heather Klimchuk, made the presentation.
A spokesperson for the minister says the new certificate simply has a “M” instead of an “F.”
Kauffman had filed a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission over the inability to change the sex on his birth certificate.
Alberta law states that transgender persons must have reassignment surgery before they can change the sex on their birth certificates, but Premier Dave Hancock said in April that the surgery requirement will be dropped as part of changes to the Vital Statistics Act.
Wren, who was born a girl, had said it was stressful being listed as female.
A week after Hancock made the announcement, a judge ruled that the Alberta law dealing with birth certificates violates the rights of transgender people.
In April, Justice Brian Burrows said the government had 30 days to issue a new birth certificate to a 23-year-old transgender woman who filed the legal challenge.
Representing herself in court, the woman argued that she needed to have her birth certificate switched from male to female so she can move on with her life. She said she doesn’t want to have surgery and the birth certificate she has now makes her feel like “a second-class citizen, undeserving of having my identity as female recognized.”
Judge Burrows agreed.
In the 1970s, most provinces changed their laws so people could change their birth certificates after sex reassignment surgery. The revision left out transgender children, because people must be at least 18 to be eligible for the surgery.
Ontario revised its law following a human rights tribunal ruling in 2012 that declared it discriminatory to require an actual sex-change operation for a transgender woman who wanted to switch to female from male on her birth certificate.
It now allows a change with a note from a doctor or psychologist testifying to a person’s “gender identity,” but the province set an age limit of 18 and over and said it needed more time to consider the issue.
Other human rights complaints have also been filed in at least three other provinces: British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
© The Canadian Press, 2014