Normally when babies are born, they are assigned a gender. One baby, however, was born without being assigned a gender in Canada. Their name is Searyl Atli. In Searyl’s case, their birth certificate reads “U” for “undetermined” or “unassigned.”
How did this come about? Well, Kori Doty, Searyl’s parent who identifies as non-binary trans, chose to keep their child’s gender off official records, because Doty believes in raising Searyl without a gender binary.
Doty told CBC:
“I’m raising Searyl in such a way that until they have the sense of self and command of vocabulary to tell me who they are, I’m recognizing them as a baby and trying to give them all the love and support to be the most whole person that they can be outside of the restrictions that come with the boy box and the girl box.
When I was born, doctors looked at my genitals and made assumptions about who I would be, and those assignments followed me and followed my identification throughout my life. [But] those assumptions were incorrect, and I ended up having to do a lot of adjustments since then.”
Doty is also trying to change their own birth certificate to reflect their non-binary gender identification–sadly, Doty lives in B.C., which is not one of the Canadian provinces that allows a non-binary gender option on birth certificates. According to BBC, Searyl’s could be the first birth certificate in the world without choosing a gender binary.
That’s a huge deal not only for the LGBTQ community, but for how we think of gender in general–especially when it comes to actually choosing how we identify ourselves as we age, as opposed to being told.
As someone who identifies as a non-binary femme, something I’ve identified publicly as in the last year or so, I can only hope this decision becomes a bigger precedence for parents and the media world in the future. So often, what we read, how we think of our own identities, how we teach our children (even the toys they play with) create binary distinctions that are not only unnecessary, but foster unhealthy expectations.
Even for those who are cisgender, thinking more outside the gender box can’t hurt anyone.
Watch this video below with Doty: