New Brunswickers can now apply to Service New Brunswick to have the gender marker on their birth certificates changed to coincide with their gender identity.
The transgender advocacy group UBU Atlantic is applauding the move but says the forms are incomplete and require too much red tape.
Joselyn O’Connor is the New Brunswick co-ordinator for the advocacy group. She isn’t sure why it took the province almost eight months to release this fairly simple form that she says is incomplete.
“They don’t cover everything. We have an entire non-binary population who don’t fit in with male or female genders who are somewhere in between or outside of that spectrum and we are still not really helping them in any way,” O’Connor said.
The form does not have a gender “X” option which she said has been done in other provinces. She says that needs to change.
“I think it is very important for us to be able to accurately represent ourselves as people,” O’Connor said, adding that these forms are a start.
If you are going anywhere where you need to show your ID, you are risking outing yourself. Violence against trans people is a lot higher and just by outing yourself could put you in danger.”
Janice LeBlanc of Moncton said she texted her 13-year-old son, who has been transitioning since he was 11 years old, as soon as the forms became available last week.
“His response was… in capital letters, ‘FINALLY.'”
She said that two forms can now be found online, one for adults, the other for children.
“That means that we have to sign the forms giving him permission to change,” LeBlanc said.
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In May 2017, New Brunswick passed a bill to add gender expression to the human rights laws which allow gender changes without the required surgery.
“Government recognizes how important it is to take these steps for the transgender community. The Legislation, including the doctor’s letter, is in line with what other jurisdictions have done,” wrote Valerie Kilfoil, director of communications for Service New Brunswick, in an email to Global News.
She added that no decision has been made on whether or not to add an X option to the forms.
In the meantime, LeBlanc is just happy that her son can finally be the man he has always known he is.
“Finallly, he can prove that he will legally be what he truly is,” she said.