Xtra Weekly
3 min

Canadians can now choose gender “X” on their government IDs

Straight Pride, queer love, and Shangela. Here’s your Xtra Weekly, June 7.

Credit: Gwengoat/Getty Images, Francesca Roh/Xtra

To get Xtra Weekly in your inbox, subscribe here.

WEEKLY EXPLAINER

Canadians can now identify as gender “X” on their government IDs.

Here are the deets 👉On Tuesday, the government of Canada announced that people who don’t identify as male or female can now have an “X” printed on their passport, travel document, citizenship certificate or permanent resident card.

The “X” indicates that either the individual’s gender identity is unspecified or that they neither identify as male (M) nor female (F). In a statement, the government says they are committed to ensuring that “the gender identity, diversity and inclusivity of Canadian citizens and residents are respected.”

People who want to update their gender marker on official documents can do so for free until June 4, 2020, but only if they’re changing their current gender identifier and do not require a new expiry date or changes to their name or personal information.

Cool, but how did we get here? Two years prior to its announcement on Tuesday, the Canadian government implemented gender “X” for passports, making Canada, at the time, the tenth country — after Australia, Denmark, Germany, Malta, New Zealand, Pakistan, India, Ireland and Nepal — to offer the option.

That same year, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said the binary (male and female) identification on official documents needed to change so that all Canadians could feel safe to freely express their gender identity: “By introducing an ‘X’ gender designation in our government-issued documents, we are taking an important step towards advancing equality for all Canadians regardless of gender identity or expression.”

This came months after the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) removed a requirement for proof of sex reassignment surgery for persons requesting to change the sex marker on documents the department issued.

What now? The federal government says it can’t guarantee that other countries people visit will accept the sex or gender identifier on their passport or travel document.

In an interview with the CBC, Shannon Ker, a spokesperson for the IRCC, says travellers should be responsible and check with the embassy, high commission or consulate of the countries they intend to visit or transit through “to inquire about entry requirements that may affect bearers of a travel document with an ‘X’ identifier.”

Finn Stuart-Seabrook, a non-binary peer support worker, told the CBC they want their documents to reflect how they identify.

“People read me as a cis[gender] man, but then they see my documents and immediately their use of pronouns changes, and the way they interact with me changes because my documents still say ‘F.'”

However, Stuart-Seabrook said they decided not to update their documents because of the discrimination that trans and non-binary people still face.

“I’m going to the States soon and . . . you have no idea what you are going to be met with.”

WORLD AT A GLANCE

🌎 Who can donate sperm in Canada? Not gay men. New Health Canada regulations mean gay men can now donate blood three months after sexual intercourse with another man — but there’s still a lifetime ban on their sperm donations.

🌎 Homophobic Henry. A man was arrested after allegedly shouting bigoted remarks at people in Toronto’s gay village.

🌎 Three men in Boston want a permit to have a “Straight Pride Parade.” The straights are committed to their hetero agenda.

🌎 Alabama Albert did something nasty. Mark Chambers, an Alabama mayor, posted comments about killing LGBTQ2 people on Facebook. He ~tried~ to deny the post was his, but later admitted he wrote it. 🙄

🌎 US President Donald Trump thanked Franklin Graham, a right-wing evangelical minister, after the minister said people should pray for Trump. The thing is, it’s Pride Month, and Graham has a strong anti-gay platform. I mean, are you surprised tho? 🤷

🌎 LGBTQ2 activists are outraged after a transgender woman from El Salvador died in a Texas hospital shortly after being released from the custody of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

QUEER CONTENT ROUNDUP