Montreal

Trans parents call for recognition on their children's birth certificates

When transgender parent Harley Viesco saw that it still said "father" next to their name on their children's birth certificate, their jaw dropped.

'Do I look like I want to be called 'father?' says Harley Viesco

Transgender parents and advocates marched Aug. 5 in Montreal, calling for the provincial government to allow them to change the label "mother" or "father" on their children's birth certificates. (Radio-Canada)

When Harley Viesco saw that it still said "father" next to their name on their children's birth certificate, their jaw dropped.

The emotional process of coming out — along with having to change their legal name and gender designation — was hard enough, said Viesco, a transgender parent who goes by the pronoun "they."

But the fact Viesco wasn't able to have the same legal recognition as non-transgender parents was discouraging, they said in a speech Sunday afternoon at a march and picnic near Montreal's Gay Village.​

Viesco called for the provincial government to allow trans parents to change the label "mother" or "father" on their children's birth certificates.

"Do I look like I want to be called 'father?'" Viesco, a spokesperson for the march, said. "No."

Harley Viesco says giving trans parents the right to choose their label on their children's birth certificate is a matter of giving them the same rights as non-transgender parents. (Radio-Canada)

Recognition and peace of mind

About 300 people participated in Sunday's march, organized by the Montreal-based collective Gender Euphoria, which advocates for the rights of trans people. 

Viesco and other trans parents and advocates at the march said it's not only recognition they yearn for, but also for their children to have peace of mind.

They argued the inability to change the label "mother" or "father" on a birth certificate could out trans parents to strangers, leading to potential discrimination toward both them and their kids.

"Especially now that we're out more in the public eye, there's bigger backlash [and more] violence. Hate has risen," Viesco told Radio-Canada.

Before the courts

The march took place as Concordia University's Centre for Gender Advocacy is suing the Quebec government, arguing the birth certificate limitation, among others, is a violation of human rights.

The trial is expected to begin in January.

Concordia University's Centre for Gender Advocacy is suing the Quebec government, arguing it should give trans people more rights. (Radio-Canada)

Montreal's Pride Festival, celebrating the city's LGBTQ community, is also coming up, starting Aug. 9.

Viesco called the birth certificate issue a "legal lapse."

"We go through all these steps and then we get to this one, which at the moment is immutable and just really doesn't correspond to who we are," they said.

now