Parent fights to keep gender off baby’s birth certificate

A Canadian parent doesn’t want their child’s birth certificate to have a specified gender.
A Canadian parent doesn’t want their child’s birth certificate to have a specified gender. Valentina Powers/Creative Commons

A baby born in British Columbia, Canada is thought to be one of the first in the world not to be recognized as either a boy or a girl on their national health card.

Searyl Atli’s parent Kori Doty, who is transgender and nonbinary, is now fighting for British Columbia to issue a birth certificate without any specific gender, according to CBC. Doty, who uses the pronoun their, said they don’t want to assign the baby a gender until the child can decide for themselves who they are.

"I'm raising Searyl in such a way that until they have the sense of self and command of vocabulary to tell me who they are, I'm recognizing them as a baby and trying to give them all the love and support to be the most whole person that they can be outside of the restrictions that come with the boy box and the girl box," Doty told CBC.

Doty gave birth to Searyl in a friend’s home in November, so no “gender inspection” was done by a hospital. Canada did send Doty a health care for Searyl with a “U” on it instead of the typical “M” or “F” for male and female. “U” is thought to stand for “unknown” or “unassigned.”

Doty doesn’t want Searyl to have an experience like they had.

"When I was born, doctors looked at my genitals and made assumptions about who I would be, and those assignments followed me and followed my identification throughout my life," Doty said. "Those assumptions were incorrect, and I ended up having to do a lot of adjustments since then."

According to their website, Doty is a community educator and refers to themself as genderqueer.

Doty is party to a complaint against Canadian Vital Health Services in the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal alleging that assigning a child male or female on a birth certificate violates their human rights. In association with the Trans Alliance Society, the eight parties to the case want gender to be removed from Canadian birth certificates.

So far, British Columbia has refused to issue such a document for Searyl. Doty wants to change their own birth certificate to remove their gender designation.

According to the ACLU, people in most U.S. states must provide proof of a surgical change of sex to make any adjustments to the sex listed on a birth certificates. To make a change on a driver’s license, some states don’t require proof of surgery.

Last month, Canadian senators passed a law prohibiting discrimination against transpeople, according to Global News. Many U.S. states, cities and counties have their own laws banning discrimination against transpeople, according to the ACLU.