New rules about checking off the "M" or "F" box on birth record forms in Ontario could be a help to many in the province's transgender community — including those who live in the northeast.
In April, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario ruled the government can no longer require transgender people to undergo surgery if they want to change the sex designation on their birth certificates. And this month, the changes to the paperwork went into effect.
For Nate Soloman, a transgender man in Sudbury, having to live with paperwork that said he was a woman made life difficult. He transitioned surgically in his mid-30s, but expressed his gender as male before going under the knife.
It is about how you're presenting yourself in the world.—Greta Bauer, Ontario epidemiologist who studies transgender issues
"It does become a challenge, especially when your ID doesn't match your appearance," he said.
"You know, going for your criminal record checks, going for all of this stuff, and then you have to disclose it. And that can be stressful."
An epidemiologist who studies transgender issues in Ontario applauded the rule change.
"I think it's amazing that they've gotten rid of the surgical requirement, because not everybody can have surgery, not everybody needs surgery," Greta Bauer said.
"So, if someone is living in a particular gender, it makes sense to have their ID match up to their lived gender and not necessarily their genitals. Because, let's face it, most people never see your genitals. It is about how you're presenting yourself in the world."
People applying for a sex designation change on their birth records have to provide a letter of support from a doctor or psychologist.