British Columbians who do not identify as male or female may now choose to display an X as a third option in the gender field of their BC issued forms of identification.

For many BC residents a genderless X marker is a first step towards equal rights for people who identify as trans, genderqueer and non-binary.

Nelson resident Kori Doty is a non-binary trans parent who is fighting alongside the Trans-Alliance Society of BC to get the very first birth certificate without a gender marker for their child, Searyl Atli.

(image courtesy of Kori Doty and photographer Colleen Langford)

Doty, who is also a member of the Gender-Free ID Coalition, says the third gender option may actually sow the seeds of an entirely new form of discrimination.

“An X marker, while validating, can also be an invitation for discrimination in a political climate where trans-phobia is coming out of the woodwork and hatred is coming out of the woodwork.”

Another issue Doty notes is the medical checkpoint in the process which may prove to be a challenge for some genderqueer, non-binary or trans people  since the transition process people go through isn’t always medical related.

“Their experience isn’t necessarily medicalized; everyone transitions in different ways. For some people that is a lot more social and political than anything that involves any sort of medicalization. So that is one of the challenges and I think the government acknowledges it.”

Class and race are no longer acceptable forms of sorting people and only fueled discrimination in the past, according to Doty.

Doty and the Gender-Free ID Coalition will continue to fight to remove sex all together in forms of ID,  not just provide a third identifiable option.