Transgender people in Saskatchewan celebrate government ID change

Transgender people across the province are celebrating a change in the way gender is presented on government identification in Saskatchewan.

Trangender people no longer need to show proof of surgery to change gender on ID

Pat and Laura Budd. (Photo by Eagleclaw Thom)

Transgender people across the province are celebrating a change in the way gender is presented on government identification in Saskatchewan.

Up until now, transgender people had to provide proof of gender reassignment surgery in order to change their gender on government ID.

This week, Justice Minister Gord Wyant indicated that the policy had changed, and that proof of surgery is no longer required.

"I'm really excited," said transgender activist Laura Budd. "It really hasn't even sunk in yet."

In 2014, Budd launched a complaint to the Human Rights Commission on the issue. The commission's hearing was supposed to be held today.

Instead of arguing the case, the government agreed to make a policy change.

The minister called the move an "interim measure" and noted that formal changes to the legislation would be done following the provincial election and a consultation process.

"Going forward my identification will actually represent who I am," said Budd. "In the past it has represented what I was assigned at birth as opposed to who I truly am."

The issue became personal for Budd when she visited the Saskatchewan Legislative buildings in 2014. After a security guard looked at Budd's drivers license, the guard immediately started calling Budd "sir".

"It erased my identity," she said. "It made me feel very small and scared that I was not respected or seen as who I am."

Going forward, my identification will actually represent who I am.- Laura Budd

Budd would like to see the change expanded. Right now, the policy change only applies to people over the age of 18. Budd would like that expanded to include children.

"We are leaving behind some of the most vulnerable people in our society, meaning our transgender youth," she said. "Youth deal with this every day at school, in sports teams. Their parents feel helpless and unable to do what every parent wants to do, and protect their child."

In 2014, a judge ruled that a similar policy in Alberta discriminated against transgender people.

In Regina, Lucas Kreutzer was also pleased with the policy change.

"Just knowing that I can be seen and identified as a male on my ID, on my health card on my driver's license, it's a huge step forward for Saskatchewan as a province," Kreutzer said.

Kreutzer, who is 17, would also like to see the change applied to minors.

"There's been four-year-old children that know they've been born in the wrong body right from the get go ... so I think if the parents take that into consideration for the children, I think it would be a good idea," Kreutzer said.