Members of the transgender community are angry over a Canadian man's move to legally change his gender to female on his birth certificate and driver's license in order to get cheaper automobile insurance, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
While the 24-year-old Alberta man — referred to as "David" by CBC News to protect his identity — said he made the gender switch to save just over $1,000 annually on insurance, some transgenders said it was "stunt" that "cheapens" their cause.
"It sort of casts doubt on everybody else's motives for making those changes," Marie Little, a former chair of the Trans Alliance Society, told the network. "I think it gives ammunition to people who want to take rights away from trans people."
It used to be that Albertans had to produce a doctor's note to switch gender markers on their personal documents, the CBC said. But in June the government halted that requirement for adults, which opened the door to simply mark their genders as M, F or X — the latter being for those who don't fit into male or female binaries, the network said.
While "David" told the network he didn't mean disrespect to the trans community and only wanted to save money, Marni Panas isn't sympathizing.
"Whether he says, 'I didn't mean to do harm to the trans community,' is irrelevant because the impact is very real to a community that is already quite vulnerable," Panas, a transgender woman, told the CBC. "And he lied, so that really speaks to this person's integrity. I certainly would question this person's motives. It ends up being a big stunt."
A Calgary official told the network that "David" could face legal consequences for his gender switch.
Stephanie McLean, a legislator in the New Democratic Party, tweeted that his actions amount to perjury and could have serious legal consequences, the CBC said.
Calgary lawyer Christine Viney added to the network that those who change their genders on paper to save on car insurance could run into trouble when they make a claim.
"If someone looking for car insurance knowingly misrepresents a fact they need to share in that application, then that's a misrepresentation," Viney told the CBC. "And the effect of that is that a claim by the insured can be invalid under the policy."
Panas told the network that gender markers shouldn't be on government-issued IDs since "they serve no purpose" and are "irrelevant."
Service Minister Brian Malkinson added to the CBC that his office has no evidence of people changing their gender markers just to get cheaper car insurance — and those who do are "making a mockery out of something that can have a real, profound impact on people's lives."
"Having a system that empowers people to change their gender marker[s] is about respecting, protecting, and advancing human rights," he said to the station. "Our goal is for Alberta to be a modern and inclusive province — one where people aren't punished by a system that makes it difficult for them to express their own gender identity."