Joshua M. Ferguson, who identifies as neither a man nor a woman and uses the gender-neutral pronoun “they,” returned home from a trip abroad to find the birth certificate in the mail last week. (Canadian Press)

B.C. filmmaker receives non-binary birth certificate

Gender-neutral birth certificates are currently available in Newfoundland and Labrador and in the Northwest Territories

An B.C. filmmaker has been issued a non-binary birth certificate after a year-long legal battle with the provincial government and says receiving the document marks a victory for the non-binary and transgender community.

Joshua M. Ferguson, who identifies as neither a man nor a woman and uses the gender-neutral pronoun “they,” returned home from a trip abroad to find the birth certificate in the mail last week.

“I’m feeling good to finally have my birth certificate that correctly displays who I am,” the 35-year-old said over the phone from their home in Vancouver.

“This moment not only reaffirms who we are, and our protection under the law in Ontario and in Canada, but it’s a relief because we are counted. That’s quite an incredible feeling, because it makes it clear that we exist.”

Ferguson, who was born in Brantford, Ont., applied to a Toronto branch of Service Ontario to change the sex designation on their birth registration to non-binary in May of 2017. When the case was delayed, Ferguson filed a human rights complaint, which eventually prompted a policy change.

People can now choose between “M” for male, “F” for female and “X” for non-binary. They can also opt not to display a sex designation on the birth certificate at all.

Gender-neutral birth certificates are currently also available in Newfoundland and Labrador and in the Northwest Territories, and Ferguson hopes more provinces will follow suit.

“I hope that this inspires other provinces and encourages this kind of legislation to happen across the country,” Ferguson said.

Last August, the federal government announced a plan to start offering a gender-neutral option on passports.

Ontario previously offered non-binary options for drivers’ licenses and health cards, but not birth certificates. The change is significant, said Ferguson, calling birth certificates “the most vital form of ID for personhood.”

Service Ontario said the new policy on birth certificates is in line with the province’s goal to “recognize and respect all transgender and non-binary people in Ontario, and give all Ontarians access to identification that matches their gender identity.”

Recognition of that kind has both practical and symbolic benefits for transgender people, Ferguson said.

“The ability to change your identification (…) makes a big difference, and can decrease the social isolation, anxiety, depression,” they said.

“My family is very proud of me and it means a lot to me to have a supportive family,” Ferguson added. “They see the change in me, just over the last tiny bit of time that I’ve had this birth certificate.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Haida Gwaii seabird conservation highlighted at international congress

Bird Studies Canada’s David Bradley is co-convening a symposium on biosecurity for island species

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Ferry sailing delayed after divers check Northern Adventure

Divers called in to check propeller shaft, sailing to Haida Gwaii now 140 minutes behind

Haida Gwaii fishery staff gear up for marine mammal rescues

Haida fishery guardians and DFO fishery officers better equipped to rescue marine mammals

B.C. team stays alive in Little League World Series after another nail-biter

Surrey-based squad scored a 6-4 win over Mexico reps in Williamsport on Monday

Kids, seniors at risk as smoke from distant fires hangs over parts of B.C.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control says children’s lungs don’t fully develop until about age 10

B.C. mother charged in 7-year-old daughter’s death appears in court

The 36-year-old mother, of Langley’s Aaliyah Rosa, has been charged with second-degree murder

VIDEO: Teen soccer phenomenon Alphonso Davies to visit B.C. kids camp

The 17-year-old Vancouver Whitecap player is one of the youngest players in MLS history

New plan to lift more than two million people past the poverty line

Anti-poverty strategy will aim for 50 per cent cut in low-income rates: source

Liberals scrap lottery system for reuniting immigrants with their parents

Lottery for parent sponsorship to be replaced, more applications to be accepted

Bear kills off-leash dog in B.C. park

There have been nearly 200 pet or livestock and bear encounters so far this year

Most Read