Story by Sharon Vanhouwe, MyCowichanValleyNow.com

VICTORIA, B.C- Residents of British Columbia who do not identify as male or female will now have the choice when it comes to government identification.

They can choose to display an X as a third option in the gender field of their B.C.-issued driver’s licence, identity card, birth certificate and BC Services Card.

Jinny Sims, Minister of Citizens’ Services says the action moves British Columbia into the 21st century when it comes to gender identity.

David Eby, Attorney General, says the lack of an alternative for those who do not identify with the male or female designation has previously resulted in cases that were being considered at the Human Rights Tribunal.

“Since last summer, we have been working on changes to government documents in recognition and respect of people who do not identify as male or female,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.

“Including the X gender designation on key ID is an important step in this.”

The ministries of Health, Citizens’ Services and Attorney General have worked together to include an X designation option on government-issued identification documents. This option came into effect on Nov. 1, 2018.

“As a trans individual, I know from personal experience that having identification documents that reflect who I am positively affects my access to education, employment, housing, health care and much more,” said Gwen Haworth, trans community member and Trans Care BC project manager.

“I’m grateful that the province is taking this action and confident that it will benefit many British Columbians and their families.”

There will be a number of hoops those who want to change their identity will have to jump through including providing a copy of a physician’s or psychologist’s confirmation form.

These are those steps.

For people born in British Columbia:

* Submit a Change of Gender Designation Application form (VSA509a) along with a copy of the physician’s or psychologist’s confirmation form (VSA 510p) to the Vital Statistics Agency.

* Upon request, the Vital Statistics Agency will issue a birth certificate that reflects the new gender marker. There is a cost associated with getting a new birth certificate.

* Next, the person can send a copy of the new birth certificate to Health Insurance B.C. (HIBC) to allow them to update their system.

* HIBC will send a letter when the update has been completed and direct them to an Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) counter where they can have their driver’s licence updated.

For people not born in B.C., but who are now B.C. residents:

* Submit a BC Services Card Change of Gender Designation Application form (BCSC509a), along with a copy of the physician’s or psychologist’s confirmation form (VSA 510p) to HIBC.

* HIBC will send a letter when the update has been completed and direct them to an ICBC counter where they can have their driver’s licence updated.