Israel, Canada Relax Surgical Barriers for Trans Citizens’ Legal Recognition

In January, both Israel and the Canadian province of Manitoba announced that their trans citizens will no longer be required to show proof of gender confirmation surgery to change their gender marker on certain legal identification.

Following a petition filed to Israel’s Interior Ministry objecting to the need for surgery before changing national identfication cards, two trans women, Nora Greenberg and Ronit Liran, found victory January 18, reports Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Stating that they personally felt no need to undergo gender-affirming surgery and that many other countries worldwide no longer have this requirement, the two women successfully argued that the current policy “rests on an unfounded and outdated misconception” that genitalia equates to gender identity.

Still, some Israeli trans advocates have protested the unchanged requirement that any trans citizen’s gender be approved by a Committee for Gender Ministry of Health, noting that having officals “decide” one’s gender is degrading, notes Israeli LGBT rights organization A Wider Bridge.

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The change in Canadian regulations took effect Monday, meaning trans Manitobans will no longer need to prove they had gender confirmation surgery in order to change their birth certificates with the Vital Statistics Agency, reports Canadian news site Canoe. Instead, those seeking to change their gender marker will need to officially declare that they are transitioning and provide a corroborating letter from a healthcare provider.

The Agency changed its stance on the issue after consulting with healthcare professionals and other officials, which led to the conclusion that requiring proof of surgery was “out of step with modern society,” notes Canoe. The number of countries that require proof of surgery worldwide has dropped to 27, with Taiwan most recently changing its policies in December.

“This is a very sensitive and personal issue for transgendered Manitobans seeking to change their identity documents, and we want to make the process as a respectful and fair as possible, New Democratic Party cabinet minister Ron Lemieux said in a statement. “I’m proud that Manitoba is taking these important steps to make this process more fair and respectful, and align with human rights codes legislation.”

Lemieux added that the Vital Statistics Agency will work to expand the policy changes outside Manitoba.

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