Eight-month-old Searyl Atli Doty may be the first baby in the world to be issued an official identification card that does not list a gender.
The ID is a health card from the British Columbia Medical Services Plan (MSP), Canada's national health plan. The card reads "Sex: U."
Kori Doty, Searyl’s parent, decided to keep the baby’s gender off of all government records until Searyl is "old enough to develop their own gender identity," Doty said in a statement issued by the Gender Free I.D. Coalition, a group that advocates for genderless government documents in Canada.
Doty, who identifies as nonbinary and transgender, gave birth to Searyl at a friend’s home in British Columbia in November. Searyl does not have a birth certificate, which is needed to be issued a medical card.
Doty has requested Canada's Vital Statistic Agency send Searyl a birth certificate that does not list a gender; they have so far refused, Gender Free I.D. says. The group, which did not respond to USA TODAY's request for comment, is supporting Doty in a lawsuit aiming to halt the practice of listing a gender on birth certificates.
Despite not having a birth certificate, Canada's Medical Services Plan decided to send the baby a health card in the mail, the group said. Instead of "M" for male or "F" for female, it lists Searyl's sex as "U."
Doty’s lawyer, barbara findlay, told CBC News that governments often argue that gender on birth certificates is necessary for their vital statistics. (findlay styles her name without capitalization.)
"Certainly, our culture is obsessed with (whether a baby is) a boy or a girl, but the government doesn't have any business certifying that information when they don't know it to be true," findlay told CBC News. Statistics can be collected anonymously instead, findlay added.
Neither Doty nor findlay have responded to USA TODAY's request for comment.
While the health card is a victory, Doty isn’t budging. Doty will go be going to court with the Vital Statistic Agency said CKNW, arguing that requiring a gender marker violates Searyl’s rights as a Canadian citizen.
“The physiology of humans and the way that that then translates to gender identity and the experience of gender is much more complicated than the binary of man and woman, boys and girls, male and female,” Doty told CKNW.
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