Editorial: It’s Time for Quebec to Stop Denying the Existence of Trans and Non-Binary

We Support the Centre for Gender Advocacy in Their Lawsuit Challenging Quebec’s Civil Code

The Link supports the Centre for Gender Advocacy in their fight to make Quebec a more accessible and just place for trans and non-binary people.

This week, the centre announced they will be challenging 11 sections of Quebec’s Civil Code in Quebec’s Superior Court beginning in January. We support this effort because a number of sections in the code neglect the reality of trans and non-binary people in Quebec.

Quebec’s Civil Code in particular discriminates against trans and non-binary people without legal status, as name changes are only legally recognized once someone has been considered a Canadian citizen for at least one year.

While we congratulate the provincial government for legalizing the change of gender in 2015, we still need to acknowledge that Quebec is behind and still neglects the existence of genders other than male or female. Other provinces like Ontario recognize non-binary identities by issuing IDs where people can claim an X in their gender declaration, instead of F or M. Other provinces in Canada should do the same.

Quebec’s Civil Code also sticks to a very traditional conception of what parenthood should look like. Birth certificates still require that legal parents fit into the box of mother or father, even in the instance where parents are of the same sex. While it’s encouraging the code has been updated to acknowledge same sex parents, the language completely negates the existence of parents who are non-binary, and it’s time for that to change.

We’re disappointed to see that to date only The Link and The Concordian have taken the effort to write about this upcoming lawsuit. We hope once the trial is underway in the winter that other media organizations in Quebec will take time to write about this issue and use it as an opportunity to open up a meaningful discussion about how trans and non-binary people are treated in our province.

We also believe that although our role of spotlighting issues of diversity is important, coverage of trans and non-binary communities should be ongoing, though right now the issues surrounding trans and non-binary folks rarely come up, except on Trans Remembrance Day, that recently passed on Nov. 20. There is obviously a lack of trans and non-binary people in our newsrooms, and journalists can and should do more to engage with this community. We are not exempt from those critiques, and admit that we too need to strive to diversify our own coverage.