A transgender Canadian parent has won their case for their young child to be given an unassigned gender from birth.
Kori Doty, who prefers to use the pronoun ‘they’ instead of ‘he’ or ‘she’, wants to allow eight-month-old Searyl to determine their own gender when they are older.
Authorities have refused to issue a birth certificate but allowed a healthcare card to be marked with ‘U’ instead of the traditional ‘M’ or ‘F’ in the gender category.
Doty, who identifies as neither male nor female in gender, said the decision was something they and others had been campaigning for some time.
“I’m a trans person and was raised within one particular gender and years later found that wasn’t really what suited me best,” Doty said.
“I wanted to be able to hold the space for my kid to explore who they were without all of the baggage that comes with the boy box and girl box.”
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While Doty said the decision was momentous, it was the first step in a larger push.
“I’ve been involved with a case which is going through the Human Rights Tribunal here in B.C. (British Columbia) with eight other folks and also an organisation that represents all trans people in B.C.,” Doty said.
“We’ve been asking for birth certificates without a gender marker since 2015.
“So it was a very natural step for me to first of all try and have Searyl joined in as a part of that.”
Piers Morgan: ‘What if your child wants to be a monkey?’
During an interview with controversial British TV host Piers Morgan and his co-host Susanna Reid this week, Doty attempted to explain their decision to a critical Morgan, who asked: “What happens if your baby gets to four or five and decides it wants to identify as a monkey?”
“We’ll probably have some important conversations about species and science and things that are appropriate for a four-year-old,” Doty said.
“Tasking your logic,” Morgan interjected, “why would it be inappropriate for your child when they reach four or five to identify as a monkey?”
“Because they’re a human being,” Doty replied. “And we’re talking about gender, we’re not talking about species.”
Even Reid, who appeared more supportive of the interviewee’s plight, questioned why Doty would not acknowledge the child’s gender on a form “if your child has a clear biological identity”.
“Operating that way is operating from the expectation that not being trans is the default and being trans is queer, or the exception to the norm,” Doty replied.
“I think that all kids should have room to say ‘I like pink’, ‘I like trucks’, ‘I want to be called this’, ‘I want to be called that’.”
Searyl still able to access government services
While Searyl will not have official documentation in the form of a birth certificate, they will still be recognised by government services.
“We have a health card, which gives them access to our universal healthcare system,” Doty said.
“In terms of bureaucratic challenges, obviously they’ll have a passport but we don’t have any immediate plans of leaving the country.
“And they’re only eight months old, so I’m not going to be registering them for school.
“But we’re trying to get them a birth certificate and we’re also trying to get this law changed – so those things kind of work together.”
Doty said they hoped the decision would allow Searyl to make choices about their gender without social pressures.
“I hope that it means that they feel more supported to explore whoever they are, regardless of how that pertains to binary expectations,” they said.
“I do think that the way that I’m parenting them and the way that our family operates will give them a lot more freedom to come to who they are with a lot less angst.
“So them not having a birth certificate now is not doing them wrong in any way. They’re a very, very happy kid who is very supported.”