Quebec has finally issued its first drivers’ license with an X gender marker, after years of advocacy and legal action by queer activists—but it could be years before any more are issued.
Arwyn Jordan Regimbal received their new drivers’ license last week, making the 23-year-old the first—and only—person to have the X gender marker on their drivers’ license in the entire province.
Since 2022, trans and non-binary people in Quebec have been able to have an X rather than M or F on their birth or marriage certificates, but not health-care cards or driver’s licenses. By contrast, every other province in Canada currently issues X gender markers for licenses and other documents like birth certificates.
In order to obtain their license, Regimbal had to take legal action against Quebec’s automobile insurance board, the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ). The SAAQ reached an out-of-court agreement with them this month, which included Regimbal getting an X gender marker.
Despite all this, the SAAQ can’t issue X gender markers to everyone else who wants them because it lacks provincial authorization and the IT systems needed to add an X to cards. Per Radio-Canada, a dozen people have requested X gender markers from the insurance board.
Having an accurate gender marker on identification documents is more than just a matter of personal validation for trans and non-binary people—it ensures that they are identified correctly in situations where they need to show ID. And bureaucratically, having the same gender marker across all pieces of ID helps prevent confusion or misgendering—which can sometimes lead to discrimination and violence. More than 350 people in the province have submitted requests for X gender markers on health cards in Quebec—but they have yet to obtain their updated documents.
In an interview this week with Radio-Canada, Regimbal said access to X gender-markers is a matter of “dignity.”
“It remains an attack on the dignity and ability of some people to be equal members of society,” they said. “It’s important to me that everyone in Quebec has the same right to dignity and to be able to prove their identity with official documents.”
In November, a non-binary person named Alexe Frédéric Migneault in Quebec went on a lengthy hunger strike to pressure the Quebec government to introduce gender-neutral markers for health cards. It was the fourth time Migneault had resorted to a hunger strike to pressure officials. Migneault plans to start a new hunger strike next week.
@xtramagazine A non-binary person in Quebec is on a hunger strike as they call on the government to introduce gender-neutral X markers on health cards. ❎ #fyp #foryoupage #lgbtqnews #quebec #nonbinary #xgendermarker ♬ original sound – Xtra Magazine
The Quebec government has said decisions about the widespread availability of the X gender marker for licenses won’t come until at least 2025, after a committee tasked with examining issues related to gender identity in the province has had a chance to weigh in. So for the time being, Regimbal will continue to be the only person in Quebec with an X gender license.