ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — It was not easy for Kyle Rees to take the province to court five years ago over the way it handled changing gender on government-issued identification.
“It was a grueling court case, truly,” Rees told The Telegram in a recent interview by email. “To this day it was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. After the court case concluded, I took a big step back from the public eye and activism and even left the province for a while to restore myself.”
But the endeavour was certainly worthwhile.
According to data obtained from Service NL, 273 people in Newfoundland and Labrador successfully applied to change their sex designation from 2016-19. By comparison, only 27 people did so in the province from 2010-15.
In 2016 the government made changes to the Vital Statistics Act and the Change of Name Act permitting residents to change their sex designation without sex reassignment surgery.
Rees, who identifies as non-binary, was attempting to change the gender on their birth certificate and decided to take the matter to court in late 2014. At the time, Rees told the media about dealing with feelings of anxiety and humiliation while using government IDs that did not reflect the way Rees was in public. In July 2015, a government lawyer announced at Supreme Court in St. John’s the province would introduce a bill to address the matter.