Quebec makes it easier for transgender people to legally change sex on documents

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Quebec is making it easier for transgender people to legally change their sex on official documents.

The provincial government two years ago dropped its requirement that transgender people undergo reassignment surgery before changing the sex on their birth certificates.

But it still required that people seeking the change have lived full time as their chosen sex for at least two years and obtain a letter from a medical professional confirming that they are transgender as well as an affidavit.

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A policy change published Wednesday says people seeking the change must now swear the chosen sex reflects their identity, that they intend to continue living as that sex and that they do so voluntarily.

They must only obtain a letter from a medical professional if they have already changed the sex on their documents in the past.

The new policy takes effect on Oct. 1.

Several provinces have reconsidered their rules about changing sex on birth certificates in recent years.

In 2012, Ontario’s human rights tribunal declared it discriminatory to require an actual sex-change operation for a transgender woman who wanted to switch to female from male on her birth certificate.

The province quickly revised its legislation to allow a change with a note from a doctor or psychologist testifying to a person’s “gender identity.”

Though it initially set an age limit of 18 and over, current rules allow those 16 and over to make the change.

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Alberta stopped requiring sex-change surgery earlier this year. Those seeking to change the sex on their documents must now submit an affidavit and a letter from a physician or psychologist.

A similar process was adopted in Manitoba in February.

British Columbia appears to have taken the biggest step so far. Last year, a bill passed first reading that would allow people — even children — to change the sex on their birth certificates without surgery. Children would need parental consent.

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

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