April 12th, 2024

Quebec Court of Appeal upholds requirement for minors seeking sex designation change

By The Canadian Press on March 21, 2024.

The Court of Appeal of Quebec is seen in Montreal, Wednesday, March 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

MONTREAL – The Quebec Court of Appeal has upheld a rule that requires minors applying to change their official sex designation to obtain a letter from a health professional or social worker declaring the change “appropriate.”

The ruling overturns a 2021 decision by a lower court judge who concluded the requirement violates the dignity and equality rights of transgender and non-binary teenagers in the province.

But the Court of Appeal in its ruling published this morning says requiring a letter is a reasonable measure to assess the “seriousness” of minors’ intention to change their sex designation.

The rule allows health professionals to evaluate minors’ understanding of the sex designation change process, but it does not let them decide what someone’s gender identity should be, the court said.

Celeste Trianon, a Montreal-based advocate for the rights of transgender people, says the requirement to undergo such an evaluation nevertheless poses a financial barrier to official recognition for transgender youth.

Audrey Boctor, a lawyer for the Montreal-based Centre for Gender Advocacy – which argued against the letter requirement in court – says the organization is disappointed by the decision but couldn’t yet say whether it would pursue an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 21, 2024.

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