Canada is one again proving itself a champion for LGBT people by issuing the commonwealth's first non-binary birth certificate.
Joshua Ferguson, who is non-binary, applied for a birth certificate last year in his home territory of Ontario. Ferguson filed a human rights lawsuit asking for the change, and as a result, Ontario has updated its laws so that all birth certificates now have the option of being either male, female, non-binary (X), or genderless entirely. Ferguson's success is a victory for non-gender conforming individuals all over our northern neighbor.
Filmmaker receives non-binary birth certificate after legal battle with Ontario https://t.co/BR7Z2MWxDg https://t.co/fA9JWcoH6v— TheStarPhoenix.com (@TheStarPhoenix.com)1525722734.0
Nearly a year after Joshua M. Ferguson applied for their non-binary birth certificate, Ontario has granted their re… https://t.co/4ZpIqM8XVb— VICE Canada (@VICE Canada)1525786215.0
Ferguson explained to Vice news that not being able to list one's gender of choice (or lack thereof) often leads to social isolation, anxiety, depression, and even suicide. "This matters: We deserve to be treated with respect and to be valued by society," Ferguson said.
"I feel relieved because I know the policy will save lives on a macro level—this is bigger than just me," Ferguson told VICE. "It's significant for me to finally have my correct birth certificate after 35 years of life, but, for me, it's more significant that I know it will save lives."
I've now received my non-binary birth certificate from Ontario! It's a victory for me and the community! Service On… https://t.co/oTMv6a010g— Joshua M. Ferguson (@Joshua M. Ferguson)1525700845.0
Ontario is now the first and only jurisdiction in the world to enact such a policy. Ferguson further explained that this is a giant leap forward in the movement to give non-binary individuals fair and equal representation and opportunity under the law.
"If we start with the basic respect and value for each other as human beings, then I think people who may not agree or may not understand may actually want to understand more," Ferguson said. Ontario is now "making it clear that we exist."
ID is an important step forward for visibility of non-binary people https://t.co/uEqf02VpHb— VICE Canada (@VICE Canada)1525739403.0
Ferguson is a filmmaker and is currently working on their memoir, documenting their life and experience.
"I think it will be a new story for many people, and I think people will want to know and understand," Ferguson said. "It starts with my story, which I think is a very human story—a story of survival and of resilience."
Ferguson's victory was hailed as such on Twitter as people rushed to voice their support.
Congratulations @joshuamferguson on your success in obtaining the first non-binary birth certificate in Ontario. Yo… https://t.co/Ozzow6mWMT— Arts & Humanities (@Arts & Humanities)1525786650.0
Uplifting and profoundly inspiring! Congratulations and thank you! Your achievement means so much! https://t.co/VGChwUnrMv— Brooke Forster (@Brooke Forster)1525788106.0
Me: “Someone I know just got the first non-binary birth certificate in Ontario.” 11yo son: “Oh, that’s cool. Good… https://t.co/ODWBtiX0y6— Amanda Jette Knox (@Amanda Jette Knox)1525726730.0
This is great news! Unfortunately, in our society change often only comes after people like Joshua legally force it… https://t.co/0Xk4s32hOf— A. H. Reaume (@A. H. Reaume)1525708323.0
But not everyone agreed, which is to be expected given the nature of the law and society's evolution on this issue. Dissent, however, is in the minority.
@CBCToronto This will lead to more gender issues not less.— L Leighton (@L Leighton)1525747967.0
I thought a birth certificate-just like educational certificates - are a snapshot in time. If your parents and doc… https://t.co/kfALFpYodp— Terry (@Terry)1525732432.0