New legislation is about to make it easier for Manitobans to change their sex designation on birth documents — a development that comes as a "great relief," to those in the transgender community.

As of Feb. 1, Manitoba will no longer require proof of transsexual surgery in order for someone to change the sex designation on Vital Statistics Agency (VSA) birth documents; that is, a birth certificate or birth registration.

"Anyone changing their gender identity has much on their mind and we truly appreciate the province listening to the concerns of individuals," said Mike Tutthill, executive director of the Rainbow Resource Centre, a space that provides support to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and two-spirited communities.

"It's a great relief to have the official paperwork portion made more user-friendly."

Following the new legislation, individuals will be able to change their sex designation if they can provide a statutory declaration and a supporting note from a health-care professional.

"This is a very sensitive and personal issue for transgendered Manitobans seeking to change their identity documents, and we want to make the process as respectful and fair as possible," said Tourism, Culture, Heritage, Sport and Consumer Protection Minister Ron Lemieux.

"I'm proud that Manitoba is taking these important steps to make this process more fair and respectful, and align with human rights codes legislation."