Here are excerpts of an e-mail Jennifer sent to then Minister Brazil on July 21, 2014.
The NL Vital Statistics Act Section 26.1 does not allow transgender individuals to have Identification documents changed, unless they complete 'transsexual surgery'. Unfortunately, not all transgender people identify as transsexual. Many do not pursue surgery on their genitals. Others cannot have it for various reasons, even if they would like to.
There is a recent trend in which other provinces are loosening their laws regarding transgender ID changes. The Ontario Government recently lost a Human Rights Case against a trans person, who successfully won a judgement stating that it was discriminatory to not allow one to have ID documents that matched their gender identity.
As gender identity is covered under the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Act, it is reasonable to suspect that a similar judgement could be won here, should a case be filed. Interestingly enough, shortly after the Ontario judgement, Alberta proactively changed their laws.
I would like to see Newfoundland continue to demonstrate its leadership towards diversity and pro-actively change section 26.1 as well. Alternatively, I know there are at least a dozen transgender people right here in St.John's, who are ready and willing to not only file Human Rights complaints, but take their fight to the media.
Rather than see the Government embarrassed by having to go through a Human Rights complaint process, I'd love to work with you to find a way to get these changes made pro-actively, while at the same time, doing so in a manner that would not harm government or make it look bad.
I would love to have the opportunity to meet and work with you or your staff, to initiative a policy review process that could make this change occur in a manner that would be as painless as possible for all.
I will look forward to hearing back from you.
While there was an initial response indicating a willingness to collaborate, no further follow-up occurred. As today represents Transgender Week of Awareness, Jennifer feels the time is right to take this issue public.
Jennifer is aware of more than two dozen trans people who live in the St John's area alone, who suffer hardship due to their inability to have ID documents that match their gender identity. Jennifer also says that she knows it would be fairly easy to get these people to collaborate on a massive multiple Human Rights Complaint and/or class action lawsuit. Jennifer, once again, puts a call out to the Government of NL to please reconsider and take proactive steps to follow the leads of Ontario and Alberta, and change this Act.
For more information Jennifer has released a ten-minute video on the topic today on her youtube site:
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador