Elias takes the DEC to court – Please help!

24 01 2011

From my friend Elias:

Hi friends, community members and allies,

As some of you already know, I’ve been in a battle with the Registrar of Civil Status of Quebec over my legal sex designation for the past few months. There are many serious problems with this department, including arbitrary/inconsistent decisions due to bureaucrats interpreting articles 71 and 58 of the Quebec Civil Code however they want – therefore getting to decide what consists an appropriate sex change for trans men, getting to decide whether to add a first name to a birth certificate instead of granting an actual change of name to trans people, general ignorance about trans issues and surgeries, unwillingness to dialogue with the community and medical professionals, hostile attitudes towards trans people from some bureaucrats, long wait times, barriers for non-citizens, and more. It’s a serious nightmare.

I have undergone a bilateral mastectomy, am on hormones and have paperwork attesting that I meet the criteria for GID – I submitted all of that info to the department. I was initially refused a sex change on the grounds of not having undergone phalloplasty. I contested this in writing because it has already been established that they cannot ask it as a prerequisite. They then revised their decision to state that I could not be granted a sex change because I had not undergone a total hysterectomy – as I type this, it is mandatory for trans people to be surgically sterile to be granted a change of sex in Quebec.

I am now going to court to challenge the constitutionality of the Civil Code article that dictates what conditions must be met to access a change of sex. Coercing trans people into getting surgeries that they might not want (or cannot get) is a gross violation of our human rights, and and I have witnessed the devastating consequences that having mismatched paperwork can have for some trans people. It is necessary that compulsory sterilization be abolished in order to comply with the Canada and Quebec Charters and to insure that trans people are granted their full citizenship. This is an unprecedented opportunity for Quebec to amend it’s Civil Code to ensure that it doesn’t contradict itself by protecting against unwanted medical treatment while simultaneously enforcing compulsory surgical treatment against a segment of the population.

Despite the fact that my lawyer is doing this at a reduced rate, significant costs are being incurred. I am willing to put as much of my own money into this while it is ongoing, but my monetary resources are limited – it wouldn’t be possible for me to do this without some financial help. In addition to throwing a few fundraisers over the next year, I have set up a donation page at http://tiny.cc/eliasdeanfund in order to cover fees incurred on my behalf during litigation.  This case is important for our community and could change the grounds of legal sex recognition in Quebec – if you can afford to contribute, please consider doing so. I make a living as an artist, and donations of 25$ or more will get you an original drawing or a print of your choice.

The outpour of love and support I’ve been receiving has exceeded my wildest expectations – I wouldn’t have the strength to do this without you and I want to express my deepest gratitude to all those who have reached out to me. A website (www.eliasdeanchallenge.com) will be up shortly to provide updates about the case for those who are interested.

In love and solidarity,

Elias

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14 responses

24 01 2011
Jarv Emmerson

The same thing is going on here in Western Australia at the moment… Dejavu really just different countries.

I don’t think its fair the hoops they are making us jump through for no justified reason.

24 01 2011
Jacky V.

Yeah, it doesn’t make much sense from a human rights perspective. Unfortunately, the dominant perspective is that if we’re gonna change our sex, we’d better not reproduce and confuse people! Thus the forced sterilisation. Grrr.

25 01 2011
genderoutlaw

Well, this is a legal challenge that I can really get behind, having been through the rigmarole of changing my birth certificate in Quebec. While ultimately I’m really pleased I had the compulsory hysterectomy, it pisses me off that any surgery is required for paperwork. It makes no difference to the paper pushers what my ID says, but it means everything to me.

I will be sharing this post widely.

25 01 2011
Jacky V.

I’m with you, G.O. I chose to get the hysto because, although there are some voices of dissent that claim that it’s not necessary to avoid the risk of cancer, I did not feel like taking the chance. And also my uterus was fucking killing me!

But I also don’t feel that any medical treatment whatsoever should be necessary for a change of sex marker. Thanks for spreading the word!

25 01 2011
Theo B

This information is worrysome to me as I have just been approved for my name change in Ontario and was preparing a trip back home (to Quebec) to take care of my birth certificate. I am on hormones but have yet to have top surgery, let alone a hysto so I feel that I may very soon be facing the exact same problem as you.

I am forwarding this message along to all my friends and family so hopefully we can all get together and change some laws!

25 01 2011
Jacky V.

Hi Theo! Thanks for writing. Just to clarify, I’m not the one involved in the law suit, it is my friend Elias. Unfortunately, as it stands in Quebec one cannot change their sex designator without a hysterectomy (in the case of FTMs). Top surgery is not necessary. However, for a name change, it’s different. I got my name changed after a few months on T. I’m not sure how it will work for you for the change of name on your birth certificate if your name change was approved outside of Quebec. I don’t know if they will make you go through the local change of name process, which would require submitting all your paperwork (letter from doctor confirming when you started T, letter of GID assessment from a mental health professional, letters from friends, family or employers (or co-workers) indicating that you’ve been living as male, etc. If I were you, I’d call the Directeur de l’état civil and ask what you will need to do before making travel plans. Also, I think most of it can be taken care of by mail. Gender Outlaw, who commented above, linked to his blog post detailing what he had to do since he’s from QC originally but now lives in BC. There may be useful info for you there : )

Best of luck!

25 01 2011
Joshua

Top surgery was required by Quebec when I changed by birth certificate in ’09. Maybe it’s changed since then…? Or maybe another inconsistency.

25 01 2011
Jacky V.

When I spoke to someone last year (the most informed person I could find at DEC, which is like looking for a needle in a haystack, or your socks after an orgy!) they informed that top surgery is not a requirement. It’s “genital surgery” of some sort that they are looking for. Their info on their page and all their documents is very unclear on this point so indeed many people working there unfortunately mistake this to mean top surgery as well but according to this person, a hysto is really the only surgical criterion for FTMs. This is after they carefully looked into it with the person in charge of sex marker changes, apparently.

25 01 2011
elias

Another inconsistency, I’d say.

Unfortunately, their interpretation of article 71 goes back and forth over time and is applied very inconsistently – this is specifically problematic for trans men.

Thanks for the nice words and for reposting, folks!

E.

12 04 2011
LosoKing Kai

T.T so admire you guys can proceed any about the surgery in trans gen.

i would like to have 1 too deadly but i facing financial problem and that stop me in getting marry with my loved one.

21 years old with no financial support from the family members. Pity me, i search around the internet but yet still can’t find any fund to help on this.

Do you guys know any related feild that can help me up? I already plan to have the cheapest surgery in Bangkok but the cheapest also cost me about RM70k!

I had promise my loved one to have that surgery within 5 years before her parents force her to marry with someone that she didn’t love. I really need help in urgent.

T.T your help is mostly appreciated and means a lot to me.

Kai.

12 04 2011
Jacky V.

Hi Kai. Thanks for commenting. I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time getting funding that you need. I’m also sorry that your loved one might be forced to marry someone else. Have you considered holding fund-raising events? If you or your friends have any artistic talent, maybe you can put on shows to raise funds. Or some kind of party. I’m not sure what people over there do for fun but if there are events that you can organise and charge entry for, this is one option. Best of luck!

12 04 2011
LosoKing Kai

Is quite hard here in Malaysia because of islamic culture, so quite hard to raise up a fund for that moreover i just a simple person that didn’t have any talent. That is why i keep search help through online. Haiz~~

12 04 2011
Jacky V.

Also, have you tried running a google search for “trans surgery funding” or something like that? Who knows what that might turn up.

12 04 2011
LosoKing Kai

Ya, hard to find a trans surgery fund within South East Asia because of close minded on our kind of people. For them, we are weird and dirty (always being said so)

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