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Canadian judge rules surgery requirement violates transgender rights

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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EDMONTON, Alberta — A judge in Canada has ruled that a provincial law requiring transgender individuals to undergo gender reassignment surgery before they can change their birth certificates is unconstitutional and can no longer be enforced.

Alberta-CanadaAlberta Justice Brian Burrows issued his opinion Wednesday in a case brought by a 23-year-old transgender woman, reports the Canadian Press.

“Transgender persons encounter disadvantage, prejudice, stereotyping and vulnerability because their felt sex is not the sex recorded at birth,” he wrote in his decision.

He said the law, as it stands, contributes to the prejudice.

The decision comes just one week after Alberta Premier Dave Hancock announced changes to the Vital Statistics Act that the surgery requirement would be dropped, but gave no indication on when that would occur.

A spokeswoman with Service Alberta, the agency that oversees issuing of birth certificates, said the ruling would be respected and the plaintiff will receive a new birth certificate.

A human rights tribunal in Ontario made a similar ruling in 2012, and similar challenges have been filed in British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

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