An eight-month-old Canadian baby’s health card may be the world’s first to be marked with gender ‘unknown’.
- Transsexual parent goes by pronoun ‘they’
- Wants baby to choose own gender when old enough
- Fighting to have child’s birth certificate with ‘U’ gender
Searyl Atli Doty is making history at 8-months-old. The baby is believed to be the first in the world to be issued an official identification card without a specified gender. British Columbia Medical Services Plan (MSP), Canada’s national health plan, issued the health card.
Instead of ‘M’ for male or ‘F’ for female, Searyl’s sex is listed as, ‘U’, which many believe to mean ‘unspecified’ or ‘unknown’.
Kori Doty is the parent of Searyl and made the decision to keep the baby’s gender off all government records until the child is “old enough to develop their own gender identity”, according to USAToday.
Doty’s statement was issued by the Gender Free ID Coalition, a group that advocates for genderless government documents in Canada, of which Doty is a member.
Doty identifies as a non-binary and transgender parent and doesn’t identify as either male or female, (and prefers to use the pronoun ‘they’).
Doty has been trying to get British Columbia to issue Searyl a birth certificate without a gender marker since the child was born last November.
But the province has so far refused, despite sending Doty the child’s health card with a ‘U’ for gender on it last month.
However, there are some provinces like Ontario that are reviewing their policies to include a third, non-binary gender option on official documents.
But the concern with the third option is that those who use it could be singled out. They could become targets of discrimination and hate crimes, according to Doty.
Doty and the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal have argued that the omission of the gender should apply to all government documents for everyone in BC and Canada.
According to Doty, feeling contrary to the gender one is assigned at birth and having to then change government documents later in life, is often a difficult process.
Doty and the human rights group argue that omitting any form of gender identification on government documents would reduce that stress, according to CBC.
“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.”
Searyl was born “outside the medical system”, in someone’s home, according to the BBC. The baby did not undergo a genital inspection after birth.
Doty, who is transsexual, says they want their child, named Searyl Atli, to be able to choose its own gender when it is old enough.
“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 recognising 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,” they told CBC.