Some hoops are not a fashion statement.

...the M to F thing is one of them!



"Dear Sir,"

This has been the greeting on recent letters from the Canadian Revenue Agency. I placed a call to the CRA to object to the greeting and to request they update their information. The person I spoke to was very helpful but was unable to change the gender marker in the computer. This was not an option she could access. She gave me another 1-800 number to call. After wading through the menu options and waiting on queue long enough to hear the "due to heavy volumes…" blurb several dozen times, I finally spoke to a real person who listened to my request and politely informed me I had to call another government office.

After another 1-800 routine that lasted another twenty minutes, I learned I had to contact yet another office and after over one hour of phone calls I was finally given instructions for what I had to do. This insignificant one-letter-change could only be done by going in person to a Canada Services office and I would need to bring my Canadian citizenship card, my passport—both of which show my gender as female—and my Social Insurance card.

This morning, after a short wait in the reception area of the Canadian Services office in Burnaby, I was finally able to get this gender thing updated in the government's central registry. I asked the representative if this would now affect all future correspondence with federal agencies. His answer: "It won't be instant, this could take months for all computer accounts to be updated." This young man had not processed this kind of request before and asked for permission to ask me some questions, a detail I greatly appreciated. He wanted to know if I had been required to have surgery before I was given a new citizenship card, which of course is what I had to do.

Canada has come a long way, but the fact I had already undergone a legal name change and had met the requirement for getting the M changed to F when my citizenship card was reissued, how is it that this information did not also affect the central registry? How many hoops does one need to jump through in order to be recognized officially as the gender of your identity? And what about all those transgender persons who choose not to have the surgery or are not allowed to have the surgery for medical reasons, or who are waiting to have surgery in the future? Why can't the process be less onerous and demanding? Such minor aspect of transition, yet one that seems to cause so much angst.

I can't wait to start getting a letter with "Dear Madame" as the greeting. Any bets as to how long this might take?


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