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Canadian Baby Makes History, Gets Issued Health Card Without Gender Identity

Jae C. Hong
Jae C. Hong/AP

Searyl Atli Doty was listed as "U" for "unspecified" or "unknown." 

Searyl Atli Doty is not even a year old, but they have already made history. Searyl is believed to be the world's first baby to be issued a health card that doesn't specify a male or female gender. Searyl, a Canadian citizen, has been granted a document that has "U" listed for sex. The U is an abbreviation for "unspecified" or "unknown."

Born in November, Searyl's birth occurred outside of a hospital so medical documentation of the baby's gender does not exist. Searyl's parent Kori Doty, a non-binary trans person that uses the pronoun they to self-identify, wants Searyl to have the opportunity to acknowledge their own gender identity on their own terms.

"I'm raising Searyl in such a way that until they have the sense of self and command of vocabulary to tell me who they are, I'm recognizing them as a baby and trying to give them all the love and support to be the most whole person that they can be outside of the restrictions that come with the boy box and the girl box," Kori Doty told CBC News.

Kori Doty's own personal experience has informed their decision to allow Searyl to decide their own gender identity.

"When I was born, doctors looked at my genitals and made assumptions about who I would be, and those assignments followed me and followed my identification throughout my life," explained Doty.

Doty's choice to raise Searyl without a binary gender has received criticism. The British Columbian government hasn't complied with Doty's wish for a birth certificate that doesn't specify gender. Birth certificates in British Columbia assign newborns a male or female gender. As a result, Searyl doesn't have a birth certificate, and Doty has filed an application to have the matter come under judicial review.

Doty is also a member of the Gender Free I.D. Coalition whose mission is "to remove all gender/sex designations from identity documents". Doty and eight other complainants are campaigning to have their assigned gender identities be removed from their birth certificates. British Columbia's Human Rights Tribunal is scheduled to hear their case.

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