VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – If you do not identify as male or female, you will now be able to have your gender displayed as “X” on B.C. government-issued ID cards.
The option came into effect on Nov. 1, 2018, with Citizen’s Services Minister Jinny Sims saying this helps “move British Columbia into the 21st century when it comes to gender identity.”
“This is a step in the right direction to ensure that identity documents better reflect identity. It is the right thing to do,” she said in a news release.
The ‘X’ option is now available for B.C.-issued driver’s licences, identity cards, birth certificates, and B.C. Services Cards.
Attorney General David Eby notes in the past, a lack of an alternative gender choice has led to cases being taken to the Human Rights Tribunal.
“As a trans individual, I know from personal experience that having identification documents that reflect who I am positive affects my access to education, employment, housing, healthcare and much more,” Dr. Marria Townsend, the medical director with Trans Care BC, said.
“As a physician who works with trans and gender-diverse people, I have observed the multiple ways that non-binary people are invisible within our society, with negative impacts on their health and well-being. This is a positive step towards recognizing and affirming the humanity of those British Columbians who don’t identify as male or female.”
How to change the gender designation on a BC identity document
(information from the Government of British Columbia)
For people born in British Columbia:
- Submit a Change of Gender Designation Application form (VSA509a) along with a copy of the physician’s or psychologist’s confirmation form (VSA 510p) to the Vital Statistics Agency.
- Upon request, the Vital Statistics Agency will issue a birth certificate that reflects the new gender marker. There is a cost associated with getting a new birth certificate.
- Next, the person can send a copy of the new birth certificate to Health Insurance B.C. (HIBC) to allow them to update their system.
- HIBC will send a letter when the update has been completed and direct them to an Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) counter where they can have their driver’s licence updated.
For people not born in B.C., but who are now B.C. residents:
- Submit a BC Services Card Change of Gender Designation Application form (BCSC509a), along with a copy of the physician’s or psychologist’s confirmation form (VSA 510p) to HIBC.
- HIBC will send a letter when the update has been completed and direct them to an ICBC counter where they can have their driver’s licence updated.
- The Vital Statistics Agency cannot change gender designations on birth certificates from other jurisdictions. Minors’ gender-change applications also require parental consent.
“This is of great importance for people who do not identify as male or female. It’s something people have been asking for a long time. It’s taken us some time technologically to get there, but we’re there,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix.
He said the changes have been in the works since last year.
“It doesn’t seem complex but it involves quite a few IT systems and databases and you want to get it right the first time and not cause further challenges for the people who chose to take this designation,” Dix added. “We’re trying to make it as seamless as possible.”
Dix said part of that process is making sure this new designation is recognized when British Columbians leave the province.
-With files from Marcella Bernardo