Petition: Improvement of trans people's rights in the Quebec province
Down with STERILE civil status rules!
Trans people demand their citizenship
Today in Québec, trans-identified, or trans, people do not enjoy the same civil status rights as other citizens. Trans people are subjected to long, complex, restrictive, and not universally accessible regulations. Their right to equality and physical integrity is not respected, since they must undergo compulsory sterilization in order to obtain the right to have their designation of sex legally changed in civil status documents.
Moreover, because of these situations, many trans people are forced to wait long periods of time with official identity papers (civil status documents) that do not reflect their actual identity. This can lead to endless discrimination when looking for work or housing, seeking health care, opening a bank account, etc.
Some examples of the consequences these regulations have:
• Trans people who want to change the designation of sex on their birth certificate are required to undergo “medical treatments and surgical operations involving a structural modification of sexual organs intended to change [their] sexual characteristics” – in other words, sterilization. Even though the Director of Civil Status does not explicitly require trans people to be sterile in order to change their designation of sex, these conditions necessarily involve forced sterilization of trans people.
• Trans people who want to change their name in under five years must obtain a psychiatric diagnosis of gender identity disorder and begin medical procedures to change their sexual characteristics. Trans people who do not want to undergo medical procedures must live an additional five years under the name assigned at birth.
• Trans people who are unwilling or (because of financial, health, or other issues) unable to undergo these physical modifications have a civil identity that does not concord with their real identity.
• Trans people who are not Canadian citizens are also condemned to a situation where the identity listed on their civil status documents do not reflect their real identity. Article 71 of the Québec Civil Code requires Canadian citizenship, among other conditions, for a legal change of name or sex designation. Obtaining Canadian citizenship can take years.
• Trans people who have children before changing their sex designation cannot change the gender they are assigned on their children’s birth certificate. For example, Nicole may be Nicolas’s mother, but she will still be listed as “father” on his birth certificate. This rule is a leftover from legal homophobia, reflecting the fact that until recently, children could not have two parents of the same gender. Now that same-gender parents are accepted, trans people should be able to change the term listed on their children’s birth certificates.
Current regulations harm not only transsexual persons, but many others, such as transgender, intersex, bi-gender, and genderqueer people, as well as their children. They threaten the equality of all Quebecers under the law.
The Supreme Court has objected to sterilization for non-therapeutic purposes. Law professor Marie-France Bureau says: “In both Québec and Canada, non-therapeutic sterilization of persons suffering from mental illness is not permitted. The courts have ruled that it is contrary to fundamental rights. […] We can therefore ask how it is that sterilization is, for a person unable to give informed consent, a violation of fundamental rights, while for a trans person who has full legal capacity and is able to give informed consent, it is a requirement.”
Other legal models are possible and in some cases are already being used in Canada. In the other provinces, for example, laws concerning legal change of name are very different, allowing change of name without the various requirements of Québec law.
For these reasons, the undersigned call on the Director of Civil Status, legislators, and the relevant government bodies to immediately undertake reforms to end these discriminatory policies. In particular, we call for the following:
• Access to legal change of name without excessive delay, similar to the regulations in force in all other Canadian provinces.
• Access to legal change of sex designation without compulsory medical treatments (operations or hormone therapy), based on the recommendation of a professional (a list of professionals can be drawn up in consultation with the concerned communities), following the example of Spain and the United Kingdom.
• Access to legal change of name and sex designation for non-citizens of Canada who have lived in Québec for one year.
• Access to legal change of trans people’s sex as designated on the birth certificate of children born to them before transition.
• A clear description, published on the website of the Director of Civil Status of Québec, of the procedures for legal change of name and sex designation for trans-identified people.
We are open to meeting with the Director of Civil Status as soon as possible. Today’s action aims to shed light on the discrimination suffered by trans people in connection with civil status, and is part of a wide range of demands in the fight against transphobia.
Improvement of trans people's rights in the Quebec province was created by and written by Politi Queers (email@example.com).