British Columbians who do not identify as male or female now have the choice to select an X in the gender field of B.C.-issued identification cards.
The option, which came into effect on Nov. 1, applies to driver’s licenses, identity cards, birth certificates and BC Service Cards.
The NDP government first announced changes last summer, following several calls across the country for non-binary identification options. During the same summer, a Nelson baby became the first person in Canada to be issued a health card without a gender designation.
It aligns with emerging national and international standards established by Passport Canada and the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization.
Citizens’ services minister Jinny Sims said in a news release Friday that the change is moving B.C. into the 21st century when it comes to gender identity.
Here's how to change your gender designation whether from B.C. or now residing in the province: pic.twitter.com/rFKr7dJ47y— Ashley Wadhwani (@ashwadhwani) November 2, 2018
The lack of offering an alternative has resulted in a number of Human Rights Tribunal cases, Attorney General David Eby said.
Trans Care BC project manager Gwen Haworth said the move will open up resources to many in the transgender community.
“As a trans individual, I know from personal experience that having identification documents that reflect who I am positively affecting my access to education, employment, housing, healthcare and much more,” Haworth said.
The province is also exploring next steps required to move to a non-medical model of gender identity to advance equity and inclusivity.
To change a gender designation on an identity document, people born in B.C. must submit several documents to the
Vital Statistics Agency, including a physician or psychologist’s confirmation form. Once complete, the agency will issue a new birth certificate that can be used to change other identification cards.
Those born outside of B.C. can only change their B.C.-issued IDs, which excludes birth certificates.