Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Game Changing Trans Document Decision In Canada

The positive momentum for trans rights issues continues in Canada

In what is seen as a game changing decision, on April 11 the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal struck down a rule that required gender reassignment surgery in order to change the gender code on birth certificates.

The 95 page decision was the result of a challenge filed by a trans woman who complained she was discriminated against because she could not change her legal documents unless she had surgery.

The transwoman in question later had SRS in 2008.   

“She had an orchiectomy (the removal of the testicles), at least in part to satisfy the requirement to change the sex designation,” explains lawyer N. Nicole Nussbaum to Xtra.ca.

“They completely knocked that out,” Nussbaum says. “The tribunal doesn’t have the authority to strike down a law, but they can say the law is not enforceable.”

The tribunal found that the Vital Statistics Act requirement of “transsexual surgery” prior to changing the sex designation on a birth certificate discriminates against trans people, she says. The provincial government has been ordered to remove this stipulation.  

Birth certificates are also used as foundation documents to change other federal level documents such as passports in Canada   

As a result of the precedent setting decision, the province of Ontario has 180 days to revise the criteria for a sex designation change.  

In addition, the decision of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal could potentially precipitate changes to similar laws in other provinces and territories and strike a major legal blow against the rule that only allows gender code changes on Canadian passports after SRS surgery

Looks like our Canadian trans cousins in Ontario are celebrating a major win that hopefully will be replicated across the Great White North.

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