Is gender a dying tradition?
For perhaps the first time in the world, a baby has been issued a genderless identification card. Canadian authorities gave eight-month-old Searyl Atli Doty a health card that designates sex as “U”. This is believed to stand for “undetermined” or “unassigned”.
Kori Doty, Searyl’s parent, has been fighting for months for Searyl to develop their own gender identity. Doty, who is non-binary and transgendered themselves, gave birth to Searyl at a friend’s home in British Columbia. As such, there was no medical “genital inspection” that assigned the child’s sex.
In a statement from Gender Free I.D. Coalition, a Canadian group that fights for genderless government records, Doty said, “I am not going to gender my child. It is up to Searyl to decide how they identify, when they are old enough to develop their own gender identity.”
Doty’s lawyer, barbara findlay (she styles her name as such) told CKNW news that it was a big surprise when Searyl’s genderless health card came in the mail. She argued that requiring a gender marker at birth was a violation of Searyl’s right to gender expression, as stated in the British Columbia Human Rights Code.
“A baby’s gender identity develops over time, not when a doctor examines its genitals right after birth.”
As findlay told Buzzfeed News, “the state has no business certifying a child’s sex at birth.”
“We would prefer they take ‘sex’ off these documents entirely,” she added, “A baby’s gender identity develops over time, not when a doctor examines its genitals right after birth.”
While this health card is a victory in itself, Doty and Gender Free I.D Coalition are still fighting to get Searyl a genderless birth certificate. They will be taking the Vital Statistics Agency to court, for refusing to issue Searyl a birth certificate without a gender.
As Doty explained to CKNW, “The physiology of humans and the way that then translates to gender identity and the experience of gender is much more complicated than the binary of man and woman, boys and girls, male and female.”