• Joshua M. Ferguson is fighting for the legal recognition of non-binary people. (Facebook)
“We aren’t asking for much, we simply want to be respected for who we are and not who the government tells us to be."
By
Michaela Morgan

15 May 2017 - 2:15 PM  UPDATED 15 May 2017 - 2:15 PM

Filmmaker and activist Joshua M. Ferguson is campaigning for a non-binary birth certificate and speaking out about the importance of non-binary recognition.

In an opinion piece for OUT, Ferguson has written about the daily discrimination they face from the public which is compounded by the challenges presented by the legal system.

“While I cannot control how others see me or how they understand gender expression, the legal misgendering of not having documentation that accurately helps affirm my identity contributes to my experiences of depression and anxiety—to my feelings of being out of place," Ferguson writes. 

“So now I’ve decided to fight and challenge systems that have only aided in erasing me and to hopefully become one of the first Canadians to have "non-binary" sex/gender listed on my birth certificate—a fight that is on the rise across the globe."

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“When I think about members of the transgender community that I know, I know this means a lot to them.”

The country currently offers gender neutral options for driver’s licences and is working towards offering a third gender option on passports.

Ferguson’s application will take Vital Statistics Ontario approximately six weeks to evaluate and if successful will serve as a landmark for LGBT+ rights in Canada.

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“Our government must honour human rights and be held accountable to an individual’s right to determine their own gender identity, considering that discrimination on the grounds of gender identity and gender expression is prohibited," Ferguson adds. 

The activist says if they are successful with their application, “this introduction of a non-binary option on legal documentation in Canada will allow us to turn this alienation we feel into a realised place in society.”

“As non-binary people, we have had to hide our existence for too long. We are real and we deserve to be legally recognised. 

“The time is now to put an end to our erasure.

“We aren’t asking for much, we simply want to be respected for who we are and not who the government tells us to be," says Ferguson.