Response to the BC Government change in law allowing anyone, by self-declaration, to change their sex designation on all BC identification
On Friday January 14, 2022, the BC NDP Government announced a change in legislation that now allows any person to self-identify as the opposite sex by simply filling out a form to have their sex changed on all BC legal identification documents:
BC Services Card
Women’s Space Vancouver condemns this action as another nail in the coffin of women’s human rights.
This change is driven by gender identity ideology with its ill-defined and subjective concepts of gender, in contrast to science and fact. This will further impede the lives of women and girls and make a mockery of our material reality, endangering services, programs, and all spaces designated for women only. Women and girls are human females with immutable characteristics, a protected class under provincial, federal, and international human rights law. The discrimination and oppression we face is based on the reality of our biology, not because we ‘think’ or ‘feel’ we are women.
This move shows contempt for women and the public, as the Provincial NDP government has, once again, made major changes to law and policy by focusing on the demands of a small interest group without consulting all of those affected. We understand they have made no assessment on the impact of these legal changes, including no Gender Based Analysis (GBA) intended to safeguard equality rights, which would be critical to share with the public.
The NDP government calls this support for the ability to be true to a person’s gender. However, the document conflates gender with sex. The Vital Statistics form reads, “my gender designation captured as "Sex” …”male” or ”female“ or “X”.
Sex is a fact – observable and immutable. Gender has no one definition and has been described as a ‘feeling’, as socially constructed stereotypes for roles, relationships, behaviours, and other traits that society ascribes to women and men. “We are not a costume or a feeling”, said Kim Zander, Chair for WSV. “Our human sex-based rights took a long time to be recognized, and we continue to face sexism, systemic discrimination, and horrific misogyny in BC, Canada, and around the world, on the basis of our biology. Women and girls are being sentenced to further vulnerability at every level of our lives by allowing men to declare they are women and therefore access washrooms and showers, counselling and programs, sports, prisons, medical care, and other services, and facilities that are meant to address and protect our dignity and our rights.”
The BC government said, “This announcement will make it easier for people to have their true genders reflected on their B.C. identification documents.” This raises a number of concerns, but most importantly, why does the government think it is important for individuals to express their personality traits on legal identification, in place of a factual piece of data often used for statistics. Zander added, “It is possible to respect gender identity while also acknowledging that all trans/non-binary people were born male or female. Allowing a subjective expression of personality to replace a factual and protected characteristic is unnecessary and harmful to women and girls.”
The Minister of Citizen’s Services said, “By removing the medical requirement for a change of gender designation, this is part of our continued commitment to making this government, its services and the province increasingly accessible for people of all genders.” This move does not support the acknowledgement of gender diverse people, but rather hides them under the incorrect or no sex category. This will compromise the integrity of important statistics upon which government and organizations base the development of programs and services for specific populations, including those who consider themselves “gender diverse”. The government did not provide information about services that are not currently available to gender diverse individuals or how this change to identification will address accessibility to services. “We believe the intent is to allow access to female-only services and spaces. This gender identity ideology driven change will only put human rights in conflict and women and girls at risk”, said Zander.
The consequences of allowing men to self-declare they are women on legal documents is huge. Women and girls are already experiencing a violation of our human rights as government allows and facilitates access to our spaces to men who self-identify as women.
Men will be able to enter spaces, services, and programs meant only for women, such as public and school washrooms and showers, transition houses, counselling services, training programs, equity programs, women’s committees and organizations, including those created to heal from and combat male violence, and those organizations, programs and services meant for Lesbian women. Women will have no space without male interference and influence.
Male criminals will be allowed, without question, to be placed in women’s prisons, threatening the well-being of women prisoners. Already, with the few males claiming to be women that the government has allowed into women’s prisons, women prisoners have reported abusive behaviour, assault, rape, a diminishing of their mental well-being, and a fear of participation in prison counseling programs.
Men will now be included as women in statistics and data collection, skewing the real-life experiences of women. They will be able to speak for women in surveys, focus groups, government working groups, and in every area data is gathered to understand and address women’s experiences, needs, and goals. Their crimes will be counted as women’s crimes. Their violence and rape will be counted as acts committed by women.
Men claiming to be women, and their advocates, have already harassed and bullied women who have spoken up for women’s and girls’ human rights, calling them intolerant and hateful, transphobic, and fascists. They have targeted women who will not conform to the language of gender identity ideology but instead insist on scientific material reality. They have already tried to skew sexual orientation by saying that gay men and lesbian women are “same-gender” attracted, when sexual orientation is based on biology, not what someone thinks or feels. They have harassed Lesbians who will not accept men who claim to be women as intimate partners, calling them transphobic. They attempt to compel speech/language that is confusing, lacks fact, and distorts reality. And they demand this ideology be taught and enacted in our schools. Women speaking up for our human rights have been threatened with and experienced job loss, censorship, and violence. Men self-declaring they are women will misrepresent women’s experiences and the rights women are entitled to. Those claiming to be women, and their advocates, have put a lot of energy into doing as much harm as possible to women who won’t ‘behave’.
Men who self-identify as female have been and will continue demanding that the medical and healthcare system conform to language that includes their male bodies as women. They demand that women as biological beings be referred to by body parts, that women-only bodily functions be renamed, and that the system assert that men who claim to be women can also carry out these functions. They have and will continue to demand they be medically treated as women and deny the distinct differences in male and female bodies. Healthcare for women will be dehumanizing, distorted and confused, particularly in the area of education about our unique bodies. There is no such thing as a ”girl penis”.
Allowing men to self-identify as women will create huge difficulties for law enforcement when they need to describe suspects, to forewarn the public of dangerous criminals, or to keep accurate statistics. Already we see Stats Can and policing records conflating sex and gender, and therefore crimes committed by men are attributed to women.
Men self-identifying as women will destroy women’s sports. The very basis of competition in sports is based on physical attributes. It is well documented that male bodies have distinct differences and advantages over female bodies. Sports will no longer be fair, safe, and inclusive for women. It has and will ruin opportunities for hardworking women athletes to find acknowledgement of their achievements. Already, several female sports records have been broken by men claiming to be a woman.
Lastly, when government is complicit in the conflation of gender and sex, it has and will have an impact on our schools and education of children, resulting in the denial of basic biology. Children are becoming more confused about material reality. This creates an opening for harmful ideas that children who do not conform to the gender-based stereotypes expected from their sex need social and medical interventions to correct the ‘wrong sex’. The B.C. NDP government has been fully captured by this ideology, showing disregard for basic science, and the rights of parents. It boasts of the number of mastectomies done on youth and young adults for gender reassignment surgery (often called “chest masculinization”). Generations of children will pay for our government allowing society to be steeped in a political ideology.
We demand the NDP government commit to the following:
Uphold women’s sex-based human rights and Canada’s commitment to the standards the United Nations have developed through CEDAW.
The collection and registry of objective data and statistics based on science and clear and meaningful language. Stop using the tenets and language of gender identity ideology. Remove provisions for self-declared identification using selected gender stereotypes.
Removal of the word ‘gender’ as a synonym for ‘sex’ and retrospectively update all official documents that conflate the two terms. The government can always collect additional data rather than replacing data with inaccurate terms.
Democratic processes that involve the public and affected populations in the development of law and policy. This is a key element to ensuring an engaged, respectful, and respected civil society and that no stakeholder groups are disenfranchised in the law and policy making process.
Prevent a conflict of human rights. Women and girls and those who are gender diverse have human rights that are equally important. No one group’s human right need be sacrificed for another.
Women won’t sit idly by while our rights are destroyed by a government that has submitted to ‘woke’ politics.
These letter has been written by an ally in support of our actions. They have allowed us to share them here.
Please feel free to use the content of these letters for your own submissions.
Self-declared gender on all BC legal identification documents
Dear Adam Walker, Jinny Sims, Ellis Ross, and Nathan Cullen,
I wish you all good health and courage in the debates this term. I am writing to you because of the January 14th announcement by the NDP government that anyone can now self-declare that they are the opposite sex (or no sex) on all government identification, including a birth certificate. The change can be made by simply filling out a form. I ask that you consider this proposition very carefully before proceeding. This is a shocking move and done with no analysis of the consequences. I am very concerned about the consequences of this action and lack of public consultation. I oppose this move. Why was such an important issue kept quiet. This is a serious misuse of power that will have harmful consequences to women.
You may ask why I’m writing to you in particular. Adam Walker, you are my MLA, and I want you to represent this area well. Jinny Sims, I’ve worked with you for many years, we’ve shared concerns and worked hard on issues relating to the Status of Women. Ellis Ross, you would be my MLA if I were still living in Kitimat and I know that you share concerns about women’s issues, along with Nathan Cullen, as we all know the shattered lives of women that have occurred in the north and along Highway 16. We must do better. I thank you all for reading my concerns and the attached letter. This is a universal issue. Women’s rights must still be attended to. If you have daughters, sisters, mothers, granddaughters and nieces, think about how safe they’d feel if this law passes.
Without any notice to or consultation with the people of BC, the NDP government went ahead with this action that will drastically alter the lives of women and girls. If anyone can self-identify as a woman (“female”), any man will be able to enter any and all women’s spaces, from changerooms and showers, transition houses for those who’ve experienced male violence, counselling programs, to sports, women’s prisons, and organizations meant for women to discuss our experiences and defend our rights. Youth can make this change with permission from parents – boys will have access to all spaces meant for girls. Women’s human rights will become meaningless.
I would direct you to Women’s Space Vancouver, an organization that is presently working on this issue and will provide more information as you need to reconsider the steps you have started. For a first step, the government must initiate public hearings, consultations and listen to the women of British Columbia. Please read and consider the following statement which was published by Women’s Space Vancouver in response to the Jan 14th announcement by the NDP government before rash decisions are made by the government.
Download our brochure on Gender Self-Declaration