Posted on Sep. 17, 2015

    Quebec Just Made It Way Easier For Trans People To Change Their Legal Sex

    "That’s a huge recognition that gender is very, very diverse."

    After two years of waiting, Quebecers can finally change the sex on provincial documents without having to undergo surgery.

    Bulent Kilic / AFP / Getty Images

    Announced this week, people looking to change their documents need only to affirm the following:

    • That their chosen sex best fits their gender identity
    • That they intend to continue living with that identity
    • That they understand the seriousness of their decision
    • That they're making the change voluntarily

    Those who have changed the sex marker on documents in the past will still be required to provide a letter from a medical professional, however.

    It's a big change from the previous rules that required evidence of sex-reassignment surgery. While some people do get these surgeries, many trans people choose not to.

    Although Quebec decided two years ago to change the surgical requirement, it's still been in place as the province mulled over what the new rules would be. The updated rules go into affect on Oct. 1.

    For advocates like Gabrielle Bouchard, this is a gigantic leap in the right direction.

    Courtesy of Gabrielle Bouchard

    "This is so great. We were really hoping for something exactly like that," she told BuzzFeed Canada.

    "I think that in some aspects we’re actually one of the most advanced provinces now."

    Bouchard, who is the the Peer Support and Trans Advocacy Coordinator for the Centre for Gender Advocacy, said the wording of the new rules are particularly progressive. Particularly, she said, it allows people to choose a sex marker that fits them "best."

    "That’s a huge recognition that gender is very, very diverse," she said.

    It's also good news for people who are intersex — a broad term that refers to those born with reproductive organs, sexual anatomy and/or chromosomes that differ from traditional medical definitions of male and female.

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    Some intersex people are subjected to surgeries in infancy to "correct" these differences. Bouchard said that after that sort of "trauma," they shouldn't be asked to have surgeries again to have a sex marker change.

    "Imagine if you have these feelings, you have the stress and then the state says 'yeah, we’re going to force you into more surgeries,'" she said.

    "This particular change in the law is huge for intersex people."

    But Bouchard's not done. The Centre For Gender Advocacy, along with four trans Quebec residents, has filed a lawsuit against the province’s attorney general to make further changes.

    BuzzFeed Canada

    The group wants to allow those under 18 to be able to change their sex on documents, too. They also want parents to be able to change their parental title so it matches their gender.

    "What it means for the lawsuit is that on Oct. 1, once it's in affect, we’ll amend our motion and we’ll remove from our lawsuit the section about forced surgeries," said Bouchard.

    "But everything else remains."

    Lauren Strapagiel is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto, Canada.

    Contact Lauren Strapagiel at lauren.strapagiel@buzzfeed.com.

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