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Quebec trans folk demand easier process for legally changing name and sex

Government requires trans folk to undergo medical treatments before their documents can be changed

Credit: Lina Harper photo

More than 100 people attended a peaceful protest in support of trans rights on June 17 in Montreal.

Thursday’s event was aimed at pressuring the government to make it easier for trans people to change their gender on civil status documents such as birth certificates. Radical queer group PolitiQ’s trans committee organized the event.

Organizer Alexandre Baril says the current process for legally changing one’s gender in Quebec is too complex and restrictive. Trans people must be diagnosed with gender identity disorder and undergo medical procedures before their documents can be changed to match their gender identity.

“Women, gay people — they have achieved equality under the law. But trans people are still treated like second-class citizens!” says Baril.

PolitiQ says the government is forcing trans people to wait long periods of time without official identity documents that reflect their actual identity, which could lead to discrimination in housing, employment and other areas.

The demands of PolitiQ have been co-signed by 60 other groups in Canada, which Baril says is crucial.

“The coalition, formed out of all trans groups here in Quebec, is convinced that this support will convince the directeur de l’├ętat civil of the necessity of opening this dossier and having a discussion about our demands,” says Baril.

The three-hour-long demo featured testimony from six trans people who spoke about the difficulties they have faced in getting their legal rights recognized by the province. The event culminated in a three minute die-in, assisted by the police who cordoned off the busy intersection for the activists.

Baril says the group will continue to place public pressure on the government until they are heard.

A list of their demands are available online at politiq.info, as is the petition petitiononline.com/coaltr.