Tuesday • 2014.10.14
An Open Letter About my Birth Certificate Application
TO: Office of the Registrar General c/o ServiceOntario
189 Red River Road PO Box 4600
Thunder Bay ON
CC: Glen Murray MPP
120 Carlton Unit #318
RE: An Open Letter, About my Birth Certificate Application
Dear Registrar General and to whom it may concern,
This letter, delivered in conjunction with the enclosed “Emergency” Request for Birth Certificate, serves to notify you that I am filing this application in its current form under extreme protest. I hereby request, while you process my attached application immediately, that you please also file this letter alongside it.
I have indicated to you repeatedly over the last six years that my gender identity is female; I am a woman. However, the “Gender” field indicated on page two of this application has been marked, by me, inaccurately, to read “male,” in order to match what is presently recorded on my birth registration in the records of the Province of Ontario.
I am presently informed by your staff that if I were to apply here indicating myself, accurately, with a “female” entry in the field which you call “Gender,” that my application would be summarily rejected… just as it was the last time I made this application in June of 2013, whereupon your staff shredded the previous birth certificate I had sent them—thus destroying the final piece of valid government-issued identification which remained in my possession.
I then received a letter stating you would generously waive the $35 application fee—but only if I were to re-apply as “male.” You received from me precisely the response which you deserved: none whatsoever.
At the time, I opted to proceed with my life in defiance of your cruel insensitivity and clear discrimination against Trans people. Unfortunately, my circumstances have recently changed (as the result of Provincial regulations with respect to the approval of Mortgage applications, being contingent on the presentation of Government issued photo-identification, of which I have none).
To go undocumented but with dignity intact is a luxury I can no longer afford in the Province of Ontario.To be clear, I am being unjustly and inhumanely forced, by regulations of the Province of Ontario, to make this application with a “male” Gender indication—under the threat of rejection for access to a birth certificate which I now desperately need.
It is my position that the relevant regulations of the Province of Ontario, as well as the policies of Service Ontario and the Registrar General’s office, with respect to applications for birth registration documents and of requests for updates to same, vis a vis Gender Identity and Sex designation, are not in compliance with the Ontario Human Rights Code, which clearly prohibits policy-based discrimination against persons under the protected grounds of Gender Identity and Gender Expression.
In order to fulfil any request, by a Trans person, for a change to the gender designation on their Birth Registration, your office presently requires that person to present a Doctor’s letter which proves that their Gender Identity has been clinically diagnosed and treated as a disorder.
This stigmatizing, humiliating requirement to “prove” the legitimacy of one’s gender identity is an extra barrier: one which is not faced by any man or woman born in the province of Ontario, except those persons who are Trans.
It is unacceptable, morally and ethically, for you to continue to enforce this requirement, and you will under no circumstance ever receive such a document from me or my doctor except by force.
And yet, although I know it will most likely prove fruitless, I am compelled to here again appeal to your compassion; to your sense of respect for the dignity and equality of all people in the province of Ontario. To remind you of your legal and ethical obligations to comply, in letter and in spirit, with the Ontario Human Rights Code.
I implore you, in the deliberate absence of any doctor’s note to stigmatize and diagnose me as the person that I am, will you please respect the gender identity which I have honestly and wholeheartedly indicated to you… Will you please accept my humanity on a level that is equal, and equitable, with respect to every other person born in Ontario, and will you please thereby see fit to furnish me with a birth certificate that accurately reflects my identity as a female person.
Will you please also commit to an adjustment of your standard policies and training of staff—so that all Trans persons in the province of Ontario may finally receive the same basic dignity which is enjoyed by the rest of persons, without additional humiliating barriers.
Will you please, please, do these things, the decent things to do.
Failing that, kindly process this humiliating application with your greatest possible haste. I need Identification urgently, and I have no power and no choice in the matter.
Christin (“Chris”) Milloy