Still Unnamed
The Walrus|January/February 2021
The report by the Royal Commission on the Status of Women was a major milestone for gender equality in Canada, but it failed to address the LGBTQ community. SARAH RATCHFORD explains that while we’ve come a long way in recognizing gender nonconforming folks, there’s more work to be done
SARAH RATCHFORD

“She’s a doctor’s office hollered to a colleague as I approached the desk for my appointment. Despite the walls being covered with signs about how the clinic respected queer folks and their pronouns, I had been immediately misgendered. This happens everywhere. I’m nonbinary, or by, but I was assigned female at birth. I’m usually not asked about my pronouns. Most people, by default, assume that I identify as a woman. Some of my friends struggled with my pronoun shift from she to them, and most of my family members chose to disregard it.

While people in my personal life have had trouble with my identity, Canada as a country is doing a slightly better job making the jump from a binary view of gender to a more multifaceted one. Status of Women Canada, in becoming a recognized government department, has changed its name to the Department for Women and Gender Equality (wage). Transgender people are now protected under Canadian human rights law. We can have an X on our passports to indicate that we don’t identify as male or female and, for the first time, Statistics Canada is going to start counting us in its next census.

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