A filmmaker from Ontario is campaigning for a non-binary birth certificate.
Joshua M. Ferguson, a writer, filmmaker and activist, submitted their application on Friday to Ontario’s vital statistics registry, beginning their journey towards recognition.
The government’s decision on Ferguson’s application could take up to six weeks, but if they are granted the status it will be a landmark in LGBT+ rights.
“Birth certificates are of vital importance,” Ferguson told PinkNews.
“I can’t change other forms ID until I have a non-binary birth certificate.”
“People are registered at birth. They’re registered in a sex without consent,” Toronto transgender activist Susan Gapka concurred.
For Ferguson, being non-binary means being “invisible in our society”.
They have experienced bullying throughout their life because of their gender identity.
The activist explained in an op-ed: “Everyday when I am out in public, I get stares constantly. And I’m familiar with them now. Sometime they turn into laughs or snickers. But there are times when the staring turns into something more sinister.”
It isn’t just others views of Ferguson that bothers them, but also having the right documentation with help “affirm my identity” is crucial, they explained.
“I was assigned male at birth, but I never felt like a boy growing up and I didn’t feel like a girl either. In my adult life, I’m forced to constantly choose between one or the other.
“So now I’ve decided to fight and challenge systems that have only aided in erasing me and to hopefully become one of the first Canadians to have “non-binary” sex/gender listed on my birth certificate—a fight that is on the rise across the globe,” they added.
Canada recently introduced a gender-neutral option on driver’s licenses and is working to introduce the option to passports too.
Ferguson added that if they are successful in the application, it will allow them to “turn this alienation we feel into a realised place in society”.
“I am doing this for myself: once I was scared, hurt and alone and I didn’t have the language or the support to be who I am. But I am also doing this for you, the non-binary reader who has had to fight daily to exist in the face of intolerance,” they concluded.