Seeking a gender neutral birth certificate: Gemma Hickey challenges N.L. options

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Seeking a gender neutral birth certificate: Gemma Hickey challenges N.L. options

A St. John's activist who doesn't identify as either a man or a woman wants the Newfoundland and Labrador government to issue a birth certificate that reflects that.

"I applied for a new birth certificate that identifies me as non-binary," said Gemma Hickey on Wednesday, after dropping off a change of sex designation form at the vital statistics division of Service NL.

There are only two options on the application form — male and female — so Hickey had to write in an alternate choice and wait to see how the paperwork is processed.

"I'm hoping to start a process," Hickey said. "I'm not sure what will happen, but I'm keeping an open mind. It felt good to actually do this."

Hickey, 40, was born a woman and came out as gay before realizing that being transgender was an option.

"I've been on testosterone for about 14 months now and feeling great about the changes. I just had top surgery. I had my chest reconstructed in January and I'm feeling great about that, but I don't want any other surgeries," Hickey told CBC News.

"I don't want to change my name. So for me, I want to be seen as a person … Everybody deserves to be identified as they want."

Hickey, who set up a foundation to help survivors of sexual abuse, was assaulted by a priest decades ago and has struggled with body image.

Walking across the island in 2015 in a 900-kilometre Hope Walk raised awareness and money to improve services for victims of abuse at religious institutions.