Edmonton boy receives gender-amended birth certificate at mayor’s pride brunch

Watch above: An Edmonton boy has become the first minor in Alberta to receive a gender amendment on a birth certificate. The presentation happened at the city’s 9th annual mayor’s pride brunch.

(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 – Edmonton Pride Festival came to a close Sunday with the annual mayor’s brunch in support of Camp fYrefly.

Former mayor Stephen Mandel was on hand to officially pass the torch along to Mayor Don Iveson saying, “Don, it is your stage. I’m no longer the mayor.”

Now in its 9th year, the annual mayor’s pride brunch supports Camp fYrefly, Canada’s only national leadership retreat for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-identified youth.

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“For many young people, they feel isolated, alienated and they’re looking for community,” said Kristopher Wells, Director of Programs & Services with the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies & Services at the University of Alberta and Camp fYrefly co-founder.

“Discrimination or prejudice on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity has no place in our city, has no place in our province, and shouldn’t be anywhere in our country.”

The brunch drew in more than 450 people Sunday morning, which is the largest crowd to date.

Alberta’s Minister of Culture Heather Klimchuk, on behalf of Premier Dave Hancock, made a very special presentation to a young man named Wren Kauffman.

Born Wrenna, the 12-year-old knew at an early age that he was not a girl. Kauffman was presented with a new birth certificate, with one small revision: the gender now says M, not F. Wells says Kauffman is the first youth in Alberta to receive a gender-amended birth certificate.

READ MORE: 11-year-old transgender boy shares story at school

“This old idea that there are two genders, that there are just boys and just girls and that there’s nothing in between and that there aren’t people moving back and forth, I think that wall is coming down,” said Iveson.

WATCH: Nancy Carlson speaks to Kristopher Wells about Kauffman’s new birth certificate

In April, a judge ruled that an Alberta law dealing with birth certificates violates the rights of transgender people.

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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.

READ MORE: Judge says law violates transgender rights 

Also in April, Alberta’s PC Caucus approved possible amendments to Alberta’s Vital Statistics Act to make it easier for transgender people to change their gender on their birth certificates.

The changes would mean transgender Albertans would not have to provide proof that they’re going to have gender reassignment surgery in order to change or remove the gender on their birth certificate.

Several other political figures, including nearly half of Edmonton City Council, also attended the pride brunch.

Edmonton Oilers Captain Andrew Ference also took in the event with his young family.

Last week, Ference made history when he marched in Edmonton’s Pride Parade, becoming the first Oiler to do so.

READ MORE: Oilers’ captain to make history at Edmonton Pride Parade

Wells says it’s leadership like Ference’s and many other Edmontonians that is inspiring change in our society.

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“Social change can’t happen on its own. We need our allies to step forward and join us in this movement,” he said. “This is a human rights movement – it’s one of the fastest growing social justice movements in human history – and that’s why we need to hold our policy makers accountable, we need to be doing work in our schools, we need to be talking about these issues over our dinner tables.”

Camp fYrefly started in Edmonton 11 years ago and has since expanded to southern Alberta and Saskatchewan.


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