The Canadian province of Nova Scotia has rolled out non-binary and gender-free options on ID documents.
Nova Scotian residents can now choose ‘X’ as a gender, or choose not to display a gender, on their provincial driver’s licenses, birth certificates and photo ID cards.
Announcing the changes on Tuesday (July 9), Patricia Arab, the minister of internal services, said, “A priority for our government is making sure we are as inclusive and diverse as possible, and making sure all our residents feel safe and that they have a place here.”
“This isn’t the last step in the conversation but it’s certainly a significant move to make sure that we have a safe and inclusive community here in our province,” she said.
The fee for a replacement document with a different gender has also been waived, so making the change is free.
The gender change is available to both those born in Nova Scotia, and Nova Scotian residents born outside of the province.
Nova Scotia doesn’t require medical approval for gender change
Tuesday’s announcement follows new laws brought in last September, which gave non-binary people the option to change the gender on their birth certificate to an ‘X’.
Those aged 16 or older in Nova Scotia are also no longer required to get a statement from a health professional to change the sex field on their birth certificate.
Susan Leblanc, the Nova Scotia New Democratic Party’s spokesperson on LGBT+ issues, said in a statement, “Making these changes is a simple thing that will help protect people of diverse gender identities from harassment and discrimination.”
“Today is an important day in the advancement of 2SLGBTQ+ rights and a win for those who have fought so long for this. Including an X as an option on provincial IDs means people aren’t restricted in how their gender is represented on official documents,” she said.
The changes were brought in following consultations with Nova Scotia’s trans community. In 2015, the requirement for trans people to medically transition prior to being able to update the gender on their birth certificates was dropped.