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

Mission being challenged by growing opioid crisis

Community Opioid Dialogue will be held in Mission on Thursday, Jan. 31

Man, 24, charged with nine sexual offences in Abbotsford and Mission

Alleged victim, who he met online, is under the age of 16

Mission filmmaker tackles topic of youth and the social media epidemic

Kim Laureen teams up with her daughter to create documentary film Selfless

Mission to take a closer look at clothing donation bins

Recent deaths around the country have caused some communities to ban the bins for safety concerns

Live demos and stunt shows part of Vancouver Motorcycle Show

Annual event returns to Tradex in Abbotsford from Jan. 18 to 20

Keep focus on helping Canadians at home, Trudeau tells MPs at start of meeting

Trudeau said the Liberals will offer Canadians hope amid issue like climate change and global tensions

Crash closes Coquihalla southbound lane south of Merritt

Accident occurred approximately 26 kilometres south of Merritt

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

12 poisoned eagles found on Vancouver Island

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

Olympic softball qualifier to be held in B.C.

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

B.C. VIEWS: Fact-checking the NDP’s speculation tax on empty homes

Negative-option billing is still legal for governments

Most Read