Canadian Passport Could Have a New Option for Transgender and Non-Binary Travelers

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Canadian Passport Could Have a New Option for Transgender and Non-Binary Travelers

Transgender and non-binary Canadian citizens may find travel easier as their government works to include a third option beyond “male” and “female” to check off on their passports.

The proposed change is part of bill C-16, a piece of legislation that would update gender identity policies at a federal level, and illegalize discrimination based on gender identity.

Under current International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) rules, a traveler’s sex must be marked on all travel documents. The ICAO allows for three marks: male, female and unspecified. However, only seven countries have issued identification documents with a third option to mark for sex. Canadians are already able to change their sex at any time on their passport, but now a third gender option could soon be allowed.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould testified in front of the Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee, saying that there’s plenty of work to be done to implement C-16 in all areas of government, and that the idea of “simply ticking a box male or female” does not comply with the bill.

Not everyone is interested in pursuing these changes. Conservative Senator Don Plett says he does not feel this is a “workable solution,”explaining to reporters, “When you start putting other boxes in, where does that end?”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged to make government-issued documents more inclusive of all gender identities, and Wilson-Raybould says, “The prime minister is very mindful of perhaps a third box or an ability to mark something other than male or female. This work is being undertaken at Passport Canada.”

Top Photo by Jeff Nelson, CC BY-SA 2.0
Lead Photo by Jeff Nelson, CC BY-SA 2.0

Madison Gable is a freelance writer based out of Athens, Georgia.