Monday, January 9, 2012

January 9, 2012 Christin Milloy takes Feds to Human Rights Commission over Gender/Sex Dichotomy

Kudos to Christin Milloy for taking the time, and dealing with the frustration of a nightmarish bureaucrats mess, in order to fight for trans rights.

Seems many government departments do not understand the difference between sex and gender.  for those of you who might not be aware, they are not the same. to put it simply and frankly: sex is between your legs, and gender is between your ears.  sex is penis/vagina. gender is masculine/feminine. sex is what you are, gender is what you perceive yourself to be. gender may or may not be expressed outwardly based on how we present ourselves in terms of physical and social presentation and communication.

anyway, the government of canada's social insurance program insists on using Gender as a form of personal information that they collect for the purpose of identity proofing. the problem? there is no legal definition of gender.

when we are born, our sex is recorded on our record of birth, which is then used to issue a birth certificate by the provincial government. by legal definition, those born with a penis are deemed male, those without a penis are females.

the issue? government is inappropriately assigning gender to individuals based on a model of cis sexuality. i.e. they assume all males are men and all females are women. this clearly constitutes discrimination on the basis of gender.

they called me a man, based on me being born with a penis, but how wrong they were! I am a woman. i have always been a woman, and no biology can change that.  yes i have had sex reassignment surgery, but i am no more woman after surgery than i was the day before. sex and gender are not the same.

anyway, what makes this case very important is that many politicians refuse to allow amndments to the human rights act for gender-based discrimination, under the arguement that it is the same as sex.  well, this clearly puts this to the test! technically, Christin is filing her complaint under the grounds of sex, when in reality, this is specifically a case of gender discrimination.

in lieu of a formal legal definition of gender, it will be very interesting to see where the human rights commission goes with this. ultimately, Christin should win this, and the government should be forced to change theirn policy from collecting gender, to collecting sex.

meanwhile, the legal definition of sex is also very contentious among the trans community, as many argue that sex is more than anatomy, but also includes things such as hormones. 

anyway, most importantly, i want to give thanks and credit to Christin for being the first trans person to not only file such a complaint, but to go public with it.

in conclusion, i write this article under the assumption that folks reading this already know who Christin is. if not, she became famous for being the first ever publicly-out trans-identified person to run for political office in Canada at the provincial level.

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