Gender “X” on IDs

The weekly editorial for the 100 Mile Free Press

As of this week, gender “X” is recognized on B.C. IDs.

We ran a web poll where we asked what people thought of that and I was a little bit surprised. Within little time, we got about 50 votes, 56 per cent of voters choose “I don’t Like it:” a percentage that’s kept creeping up ever since.

The reason I was somewhat surprised is because the majority of the people who checked out the poll came from our Facebook page which, in my personal experience, is a little bit more left-leaning politically than our readers in general and the area as a whole (but who knows maybe I’m wrong).

I was also a little bit surprised to learn which jurisdictions had already beaten B.C. to the punch.

It’s been allowed on passports in Canada since 2017, on birth certificates in Newfoundland and Labrador and the Northwest Territories since 2017 and since earlier in 2018 in Ontario and Alberta.

Ontario also removed the gender field all together on health cards in 2016 and added the “X” option to drivers licenses in 2017.

Furthermore, a person in Australia managed to get an “X” behind the gender field as early as 2003.

Since 2013, it’s been possible to leave an absence in the gender field in Germany.

In India, “others” has been an option since 2009 on voting rolls and voter identity cards. Courts in Nepal created a third-gender category in 2007. A few U.S. states have done so as well.

The list goes on.

The point here is, allowing something other than “M” or “F” is hardly groundbreaking at this point.

Given all of that, it must be somewhat disappointing for South Cariboo residents who feel that they don’t fall within heteronormative (male and female) gender roles to see the response be one of fairly strong dislike.

Personally, my knee-jerk reaction is I don’t really care; it doesn’t personally affect me. But, it is something we should care about.

One of the most prominent themes in the recent civic elections was what fantastic places the South Cariboo and 100 Mile House are to live in.

However, that’s only really true if you feel welcome in the community. Given the poll results and some of the comments, I’m inclined to say that as a community we still have a ways to go towards making people who don’t fit the traditional mold welcome.

Perhaps the ability to mark a simple “X” on an ID will be a move closer to helping people feel at least a little more welcome.”

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