This Baby Could Be The First To Be Issued A Health Card Without A Gender Designation

"Outside of the restrictions that come with the boy box and the girl box."

Canadian parent Kori Doty — a non-binary transgender person who identifies as neither male nor female, and prefers the pronoun "they" — is raising their 8-month-old baby Searyl Atli to develop and choose their own gender identity. In line with their parenting philosophy, Doty is asking authorities in British Columbia to issue the baby a health card without a gender designation. 



The case is especially poignant because If authorities grant Doty's wish, Searyl could be the first in the world to be issued a health card without a male or female label.

Doty is part of the Gender-Free ID Coalition and says that inspecting a child's genitalia at birth is not a satisfactory way to determine a child's gender, as sex and gender are two different things.  Doty asserts that labeling a child in such a way can be damaging if that child does not identify with the gender assigned at birth, and it can lead to problems later in life if that person wants to change their legal documents to reflect their identity. 

Global News reports the family's lawyer, barbara findlay (who chooses to spell her name without capital letters) said, "The assignment of sex in this culture is done when a medical person lifts up the legs and looks at the baby's genitals. But we know that the baby's own gender identity will not develop for some years until after they're born." She adds that the lack of gender designation on the health card is a "huge step forward."

It's reported that BC authorities have refused to issue Searyl a birth certificate without a gender designation, so Doty has applied for a judicial review of the case. In the meantime, Searyl has been issued a card so they have access to health services. Instead of having a "male" or "female" label on their health card, there is a "U" which the BBC reports could represent "undetermined" or "unassigned."

"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," Doty told CBC. "I'm recognizing 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."

Shutterstock I Anastasiya Matrosova
Shutterstock I Anastasiya Matrosova

Other Canadian provinces are reviewing policies to include a third, non-binary gender option on documents, including health cards and driver's licenses, with Ontario launching a "X" gender option in 2017. In the United States, Washington, D.C. became the first to issue gender-neutral licenses.

Cover image via Shutterstock I Anastasiya Matrosova

(H/T: Teen Vogue)

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