In what could be the first case in the world, a B.C. baby has been issued a health card with the letter “U” for a sex marker.
It comes as the baby’s parent fights to allow their child to develop their own gender identity.
LISTEN: Kori Doty explains the battle to get gender-neutral documentation for their child
Searyl’s parent Kori Doty is going to court against the Vital Statistics Agency for its refusal to issue a birth certificate for the child.
Since the baby was born outside the medical system, there was no ‘genital inspection.’
“We’re not actually asking to have anyone’s ID changed against their will. We’re just asking to change the structure of how identification, particularly the birth certificate, starts out,” Doty said.
Doty said the goal is for the child to discover their own gender identity — and so far the decision hasn’t been a problem, even when people ask if the baby is a boy or a girl.
“Often I’ll just say I don’t know yet, or I’m not rushing to apply those types of labels on this kid. Right now they’re just a baby.”
Human Rights lawyer barbara findlay is working on Doty’s application for a judicial review of the province’s refusal to issue birth certificate.
She said it was a big surprise when baby Searyl’s health card came in the mail.
“For us, it’s a huge step forward.”
findlay argues the requirement for a gender marker violate’s Searyl’s Charter rights.
“The assignment of sex in this culture is done when a medical person lifts up the legs and looks at the baby’s genitals. But we know that the baby’s own gender identity will not develop for some years until after they’re born.”
In Doty’s child’s case, the letter “U,” presumably for unspecified or unknown, has been entered in the spot for “sex.”
Felix Gilliland with the Gender Free ID Coalition is also supporting the application for a judicial review, calling it a matter of human rights for trans people.
“It really just demonstrates the logistical nightmare that trans people go through every day. This is what we’re navigating. Every time we want to see a doctor, this is what comes up. So here is this baby that’s having it happen from day one, and it’s really a good demonstration of what this fight is all about,” they said.