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Canadian Parent Fights for Genderless Birth Certificate
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Kori Doty

Summary: A British Columbia parent is fighting to have the Canadian province issue them a birth certificate for their baby without a gender.

A Canadian parent is fighting for the country to release a “gender unknown” birth certificate for their 8-month-old baby. The parent, Kori Doty, claims to be neither male nor female but has a mustache. British Columbia, the province where they reside, issued a health card to the child without a gender specification but refuses to issue a birth certificate without a gender.


Doty is fighting to have the child’s gender kept off of government records so that the child, Searyl Atli, can determine its own gender at a more appropriate age. Doty, who requests a pronoun of “they” over “he” or “she,” told CBC that they are “raising Searyl in such a way that until they have the sense of self and command of vocabulary to tell me who they are. 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.”

The Canadian province of British Columbia only issues birth documents that have a male or female designation. Provinces Ontario and Alberta noted that they are reviewing their policies regarding gender to include a third option – non-binary gender. Critics to that revision argue that children without a designation may be targeted by bullies and discriminated against.

Doty’s reason for raising their child this way is their own upbringing. Doty said, “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 incorrect, and I ended up having to do a lot of adjustments since then.”

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The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal is helping Doty fight the government and its policies. Lawyer, barbara findlay, who will not spell her name with capital letters, is representing Doty. Doty is a member of the Gender-Free ID Coalition. Doty is among a group of eight people trying to change the gender of their own birth certificates. Doty argues that assigning a gender at birth violates their human rights by taking away their freedom to choose their sexual identity.

Doty’s lawyer argues that the government does not need to know one’s sex, stating, “Certainly, our culture is obsessed with [if a baby is] a boy or girl, but the government doesn’t have any business certifying that information when they don’t know it to be true.”

Doty added, “I want my kid to have all of the space to be the most whole and complete person that they can be.” Doty firmly believes a simple biological examination does not determine a person’s true identity. They said a child may grow up to identify with a gender different from their biological sex or may be intersex.

They noted, “People always ask, ‘Is your baby a boy or girl?’ I don’t know yet. I’m waiting to get to know them more.”

Do you agree with Doty’s argument? Tell us if you think gender specifications are important in the comments below.

To learn more about gender legal issues, read these articles:




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