Canada has taken a major step in supporting equality by introducing a third gender category on its passports.
From tomorrow Canadian citizens will be able to declare their gender as ‘X’ on their passports in a move that will make it easier for people who do not identify as male or female.
People will also be able to do this on other documents issued by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada department (IRCC) to better reflect their gender identity.
The third gender move was announced in a statement from the government last week which explained that the ‘X’ will indicate that the individual’s gender is unspecified.
As Canadians, we know that protecting and promoting fundamental human rights is an imperative for governments and individuals alike. This includes gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.
Today’s announcement follows steps to protect Canadians in their right to the gender identity of their choice, and freedom of gender expression.
Ahmed Hussen, Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, added:
All Canadians should feel safe to be themselves, live according to their gender identity and express their gender as they choose.
By introducing an ‘X’ gender designation in our government-issued documents, we are taking an important step towards advancing equality for all Canadians regardless of gender identity or expression.
IRCC will introduce an “X” gender designation across services. Details on interim measures available Aug. 31. https://t.co/V0XpbIKiMm
— GC Newsroom (@NewsroomGC) August 24, 2017
The IRCC is the first Canadian government department to introduce third gender measures but are a part of a government drive to protect Canadians’ freedom of gender expression.
The move follows Bill C-16 that was passed in June which amended the Canadian Human Rights Act adding non-discrimination protections on the grounds of gender expression.
More steps will be taken in the coming months to better reflect gender identity elsewhere in Canada.
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.