Arwyn Jordan Regimbal would have celebrated finally having the correct gender marker on their Quebec driver's licence, had they not been an exception to the rule.
A year and a half after taking steps to have an X gender marker on their documents, the 23-year-old non-binary person finally got their licence in the mail last Wednesday — a first in the province.
Since 2022, trans and non-binary people in Quebec can legally obtain the letter X rather than M or F on their civil status documents such as birth or marriage certificates, but not health-care cards or driver's licences. Radio-Canada confirmed a dozen people have requested an X gender marker from Quebec's automobile insurance board.
Quebec's automobile insurance board, the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ), has said it lacks provincial authorization and the IT systems needed to add an X to cards to replace the letters M or F. It said it will have to wait until Quebec's new gender identity committee files its report at the end of the year.
Regimbal, however, had taken legal action against the SAAQ to force it to put the correct gender marker on their driver's licence. The X marker was put on their licence "in accordance with an out-of-court agreement," SAAQ spokesperson Gino Desrosiers told Radio-Canada.
Quebec must 'act quickly,' human rights commission says
Regimbal says they still feel a sense of injustice as other trans and non-binary people will have to wait until at least 2025 to have their papers corrected.
"It remains an attack on the dignity and ability of some people to be equal members of society," they told Radio-Canada.
"It's important to me that everyone in Quebec has the same right to dignity and to be able to prove their identity with official documents," they said.
The province's human rights commission, the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (CDPDJ), says Quebec is the only province that doesn't have the option of an X gender marker on its licences. Halimatou Bah, a spokesperson for the CDPDJ, said the commission urges the Quebec government "to act quickly" to approve the X gender marker for all those who request it, "in line with the changes already in effect to civil status."
Regimbal also criticized the Legault government.
They consider it "insulting" that the committee on gender identity is being used as a reason to delay legal recognition of gender identity for some.
Trans activist Celeste Trianon said she was 'surprised, shocked and disgusted' when she learned of the event. (Chloë Ranaldi/CBC)
Liberal MNA Jennifer Maccarone reacted to Regimbal's story on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying the current policies around gender markers are, in one word, "incoherent."
"We're the only province in Canada that doesn't allow the X marker on ID documents. And yet, we passed it into law. It's not right to divide the population into two categories: one with more than 8.5 million people, and the other with just one," she wrote.
Civil Code changed in 2021
Celeste Trianon, a trans activist who runs a legal clinic that helps people request name and gender marker changes, said that while she is happy for Regimbal, it's unlikely the move will open the door for others to get X gender markers on their IDs right away.
Trianon knows Regimbal personally and said the process to get their ID corrected was lengthy and complicated. But, she says that the SAAQ settlement shows the automobile insurance board "probably knows it would lose in court."
In 2021, Quebec Superior Court forced the province to reword several sections of the Civil Code of Quebec — parts of which included having non-binary people be recognized as such on their birth and death certificates. Justice Gregory Moore said the lack of X gender markers deprives trans and non-binary people "of the dignity and the equality that they are owed."
"Following that logic, it should apply to IDs. When you go out, you're not showing your birth certificate," said Trianon.
"The CAQ must listen to the community and its own governing bodies."
Last week, Geneviève Guilbault, the minister responsible for the SAAQ, said the committee's report would allow "more informed decisions" to be made on the subject of gender identity "in light of what is happening here and elsewhere."