A baby in Canada has been given a health card without a gender designation, in what is thought to be a world first.
The eight-month old child, named Searyl Atli was born in November in British Columbia to Kori Doty, a non-binary transgender person who identifies as neither male nor female and prefers to use the pronoun ‘they’.
Doty’s aim is for the child to discover their own gender, and as a result the health card carries a ‘U’ in the field for ‘sex’ - which could stand for ‘unassigned’ or ‘undetermined’.
Doty is fighting to omit the gender from the birth certificate, and keep Searyl’s sex off all official records.
Doty argues that a visual inspection at birth is unable to determine what gender the child will have or identify with in life. They told CBC: “I’m raising Searyl in in such a way that until they have the sense of self and command of vocabulary to tell me who they are, I’m recognising 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.”
Doty is a community educator and part of the Gender-Free ID Coalition. They believe those who identify with a different gender to that assigned at birth face problems later in life when trying to amend official documentation.
They added: “When I was born, doctors looked at my genitals and made assumptions about who I would be, and those assignments followed me and followed my identification throughout my life.
“Those assumptions were wrong and I ended up having to make a lot of adjustments.”
Doty claims that the authorities are refusing to issue a birth certificate without a gender designation, and they have already applied for a judicial review.
Their lawyer, barbara findlay - who choose to spell her name without upper case letters - told Global News: “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.”
Media in Canada reported that the health card could be the first in the world to omit a gender designation.