Editorial: Bill 2 needs to go: Trans, non-binary and intersex people’s safety is not up for debate

Bill 2 puts trans, non-binary, and intersex lives at risk. Graphic Carl Bindman

The Coalition Avenir Québec proves, once again, that it does not care about marginalized communities. Its latest bill proposal, introduced by Quebec Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette brings trans and intersex people’s rights years back—literally.

On Oct. 21, Jolin-Barrette introduced the legislation, which stipulates that there will be separate biological sex and gender markers on civil status documents, meaning the sex marker would disclose an individual’s assigned sex at birth. Individuals wishing to change the sex marker on their official documents would only be able to do so after having undergone genital surgery, and providing proof of it.

This comes less than a year after changes were made to various sections of the Civil Code of Quebec, which essentially prohibited trans and non-binary parents, non-citizens and youth to designate their gender identity, titles and names on identification documents. 

The adoption of Bill 2 is not as progressive of a step as the CAQ government thinks it is. It puts a direct target on the back of trans, non-binary, and intersex individuals by forcibly disclosing their gender identity, further enabling the policing of their bodies.

The adoption of Bill 2 would further give figures who hold positions of power and influence the ability to refuse any type of service, such as medical care, employment, or safe housing to anyone that refuses to identify with their designated gender and sex markers. Worse, it would especially affect those belonging to BIPOC communities, who already face discrimination at a disproportionate level.

This type of visibility does not bring equality. Rather, it brings violence, harassment, abuse, and assault.

It forces trans, non-binary, and intersex people—specifically the youth—to equate their validity to their genitalia; a very harmful and dangerous notion. Having two different ID markers, one of which does not match the gender a person identifies as, can be detrimental to their mental health and worsen their body and gender dysphoria. 

The oversimplification of associating gender identity with genitalia or gender reassignment surgeries dehumanizes and ostracizes intersex people in the process, completely depriving them from the right to self-determine their gender identity, and forcing them to choose still. 

With Bill 2, cisgender men are taking away the sovereignty of trans, non-binary and intersex identities and bodies–bodies that should not be legislated.

As of now, Bill 2 has not yet been adopted in Quebec. Activists and collectives have been mobilizing to organize protests and events. Petitions are also being shared online, which we encourage you to engage with. If you’re able, consider donating to organizations fighting for trans rights. Contact your city councillors and lawmakers. Take action, and most importantly, uplift, center, and protect trans, non-binary, and intersex voices.