Quebec Flag
Quebec green lights the X marker per the recommendation of experts. (AzertyFabe/Wikimedia)

The government of Quebec, Canada has decided to let people use the X gender marker on provincial driver's licences and health insurance cards.

The X marker reflects the gender identity of trans and non-binary people on documents such as birth and death certificates. It is meant to be used by individuals who do not identify as male (M) or female (F).

Citizens of Quebec were previously allowed to use the X marker instead of M or F for civil status documents but not for healthcare cards and driver's licences.

Diane Lavallée, head of the government's gender identity committee, said that the provincial government was informed of their decision in February. The committee made it clear to the government that its position will not change even if the government chooses to wait for its final report to be published in 2025.

The decision was made public on Monday by Quebec's Family Minister, Suzanne Roy. "In light of the consensus reached ... the Quebec government agrees that the X marker can now be added to health insurance cards and driver's licences," she said in a statement issued on Monday.

"The X marker can now be used by people who request it with the same rules that are already in force with the Civil Registry," added the minister.

Activists had been demanding for years for X markers to be included in other documents, as well. The latest decision by the government concerning the use of X markers has been widely welcomed.

"It certainly is not perfect by any means, but it enables trans and non-binary people to be recognised for who they are. It allows them to be their authentic selves on their ID, and that is why it's not something that concerns everyone. It only concerns a small fraction of the population," CBC quoted an activist as saying. However, the battle is far from over since the authorities are yet to ensure the policy's effective implementation on the ground.

Quebec's health insurance board, known as the RAMQ, has also confirmed the development. They shared that they were informed of the decision by the family minister on Monday morning.

"RAMQ welcomes this decision, which will help meet the needs expressed by some of its customers," a spokesperson for RAMQ told the Toronto Sun. "We will work as of today to establish a precise timetable in collaboration with our various partners to implement this decision," they added.

Citizenship certificates, permanent resident cards, and Canadian passports all have the option of an X-gender marker in all provinces.

In 2021, a Quebec Superior Court judge forced the provincial government to change several sections of the Civil Code of Quebec as they discriminated against trans and non-binary people.

In a historical judgement, Justice Gregory Moore struck down several provisions of the law, including the provision preventing people from changing the sex listed on their birth certificates. The decision forced the government to amend the Civil Code, thereby, giving people the option to use the X marker instead of having to choose either male or female on documents.

As many as 16 countries have a third-gender option on their passports. In 2013, Germany became the first country to include the option on its passport.

Countries like India, Pakistan, and Nepal also have a third-gender option for passports. In 2022, the United States also began issuing passports with the X designation for gender after a long legal battle.