Surgical Requirement on Record of Birth is Discriminatory for Trans People

Published: April 17, 2012

For Immediate Release: April 17, 2012
 
Trans Lobby Group Applauds Ontario Human Rights Decision
 
Surgical Requirement on Record of Birth is Discriminatory for Trans People
 
Trans Lobby Group members are thrilled that an Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that the surgical requirement for a change in the record of birth on legal documents is discriminatory towards trans people. In a decision just released, XY v. The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services confirmed what trans people have been saying all along.
 
Susan Gapka noted, “Requiring Sexual Reassignment Surgery (SRS) is differential treatment based upon a personal characteristic, that is; that trans people are treated differently and face harassment and discrimination when their legal documents do not match how they present in their everyday lives.” Gapka, chair of the Trans Lobby Group added, “Now we can move forward with remedy which will provide social inclusion for many trans people born in Ontario who are currently without accurate documentation.”
 
Davina Hader, Trans Lobby Group Steering Committee member exclaimed, “Accessing essential services in Ontario requires valid identification. If ones’ identification is out of sync with whom they are then discrimination and refusal of services becomes the norm. This ruling validates the need for change for so many.”
 
The Vital Statistics Act governs the record of birth in Ontario and is recorded on ones’ birth certificate. To change sex on ones’ birth certificate requires SRS and letters from the preforming surgeon and confirmation from a recognized medical practitioner. SRS has rigorous eligibility criteria with limited access across Ontario so many trans people are not able to pursue this procedure which was delisted as an insured service for 10 years in Ontario. Other trans people do not seek SRS for personal reasons.
 
In 2005, a mediated case, AB verses the Ministry of Transportation and Minister of Government Services, agreed that the sex designation on ones’ Drivers License could be changed through a simple application by the individual and a confirming letter from their physician. XY v. The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services gives the Ontario Government 180 days to revise the criteria for changing sex designation on the record of birth.
 
The Trans Lobby Group extends tremendous gratitude to the litigant, XY who displayed extraordinary courage and resilience in presenting personal life experience details in a public forum during the Tribunal hearings and to legal counsel Susan Ursel of Ursel Phillips Fellows Hopkinson LLP who provides invaluable and expensive pro Bono legal counsel to the trans communities. Usel was legal counsel in Hogan v Ministry of Health and Long Term Care when we fought for SRS to be relisted as an insured service.
 
Trans Lobby Group members are seeking to amend the Ontario Vital Statistics Act so that trans people can more easily change their legal documents to match their true gender identity. In Ontario, the Minister of Health and Long Term Care announced restoring of funding for Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) on May 14, 2008 following a lengthy campaign by the Trans Lobby Group to relist this medically necessary procedure. Trans Lobby Group members are also seeking explicit Human Rights amendments to include ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression’ as a prohibited grounds of discrimination. Toby’s Act, which amends the Ontario Human Rights Code is scheduled for 2nd Reading at Queen’s Park on May 10, 2012.
 
For More Information Contact:
 
Susan Gapka, Chair: transhumanrightscampaign@yahoo.ca, 647 882 2776
 
Davina Hader: davina@studioconceptions.com, 647 808 1484

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