'I feel fantastic': Gemma Hickey wins battle for gender-neutral birth certificate
Court hearing postponed as N.L. government promises legislation this fall
Gemma Hickey's fight for a gender-neutral birth certificate is almost over, and it's a victory for others as well as Hickey.
The Newfoundland and Labrador government says it will introduce legislation to allow individuals to change their designation on a birth certificate to female, male or non-binary.
The proposed amendment to the Vital Statistics Act comes after Hickey filed an application in the Supreme Court in June 2017 to challenge the act under the Canadian Human Rights Act and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
"I feel fantastic today, it's a proud day for Newfoundland and Labrador … I feel very happy today, I feel very validated," Hickey said outside Supreme Court in St. John's Friday.
The court has postponed its hearing into Hickey's application until Dec. 14
By that time, the legislation should be tabled and possibly approved by the House of Assembly.
I feel very happy today, I feel very validated.- Gemma Hickey
Hickey said it's a victory for non-binary people because, if passed, the legislation will also eliminate the need for a note from a doctor for a person over the age of 16 to be marked non-binary.
"I wanted to remove the requirement to have a physician's note because I believe that pathologizes gender identity in a way — [implying] that people need to be treated," said Hickey.
"Identity is a very personal thing for people, and people can choose for themselves how they choose to identify, so the province has committed to changing that legislation within the next couple months."
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BREAKING?src=hash">#BREAKING</a> Gemma Hickey attends Supreme Court of NL as province begins process to permit non-binary birth certificates <a href="https://twitter.com/CBCNL">@CBCNL</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/CBCNews">@CBCNews</a> <a href="https://t.co/LLZ9IPJuij">pic.twitter.com/LLZ9IPJuij</a>—@oneillyatescbc
X now an option
Service NL said in a release Thursday the policy will allow individuals to choose an X on their birth certificate, instead of male or female markers.
Information about a baby's sex will continue to be collected at birth, and children between the ages of 12-15 will still require a parent to apply on their behalf and give consent before obtaining a gender-neutral birth certificate.
In Canada, the only province or territory to allow gender-neutral birth certificates is the Northwest Territories.
We, as a government, believe in equality for everyone, and we just want to remain progressive and continue to empower people.- Sherry Gambin-Walsh
Sherry Gambin-Walsh, minister of Service NL, said the changes are necessary and important.
"We, as a government, believe in equality for everyone, and we just want to remain progressive and continue to empower people," she said.
The amendment to change the Vital Statistics Act will put before the House of Assembly this fall.
Service NL said an application to change one's designation will have no cost, but getting a new paper copy of a birth certificate will cost $35.