Photo courtesy of Deutsche Welle

CANADA – Parent appeals for first gender-neutral birth certificate in BC

The parent of an eight-month-old child who recently received the first gender-neutral health-care card in the province is now fighting to also keep the child’s sex off the birth certificate.

Kori Doty from Slocan Valley, who does not identify as either male or female and uses they/them pronouns, wants to have the sex of their child, Searyl Atli, omitted from official documentation.

Doty explained in an interview with CBC News that they want their child to discover their own gender, rather than being identified by sex markers.

Baby Searyl’s health care card was recently issued by the province with the letter ‘U’ — which likely stands for ‘undetermined’ or ‘unknown’ — in place of the male or female sex designation.

However, Doty told CBC News that the province has so far declined to issue a birth certificate without the infant’s sex. Searyl was born at home and was not subject to a genital inspection.

Having sex — and, as a result, gender — assigned at birth can present difficulties in changing official documents later in life for individuals whose gender or non-binary identity does not match the assumptions made by doctors.

The federal government is currently considering adding a third gender option for non-binary persons to passports and the provinces of Ontario and Alberta are also working towards a similar option on official documentation.

With files from CBC News and Global BC.

NEW ZEALAND – Researchers discover vaccine to curb rising rate of drug-resistant gonorrhoea

A group of researchers have uncovered a vaccine that can reduce instances of the common sexually transmitted infection gonorrhoea, which has been making headlines recently for increasing rates of drug-resistance.

The findings published in The Lancet come just days after the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that data from nearly 80 countries worldwide shows that the infection is increasingly becoming untreatable.

“These cases may just be the tip of the iceberg, since systems to diagnose and report untreatable infections are lacking in lower-income countries where gonorrhoea is actually more common,” said the WHO’s Teodora Wi in a news release.

The researchers based in New Zealand discovered that young adults vaccinated with the outer membrane vesicle meningococcal group B vaccine were significantly less likely to contract the infection.

This is the first time that a vaccine has shown protection against gonorrhoea and the researchers estimate that it has over 30% effectiveness in preventing infection. The findings can be used to develop an even more effective approach to treatment.

Many sexually transmitted infections can be prevented when using safe sex practices and seeking medical advice upon the appearance of symptoms, according to WHO. The stigma around common sexually transmitted infections presents a barrier for many individuals who might otherwise seek medical treatment.

GERMANY – German parliament legalizes same-sex marriage

Late last month, the German parliament voted to legalize marriage between partners of the same sex and allow the couples to adopt children.

The vote came in with 63% of parliamentary members in favour of reforming the country’s laws around marriage.

German Chancellor and leader of the ruling party Angela Merkel allowed the vote to take place based on party member’s personal conscience. Merkel has publicly stated that she opposes legalizing same-sex marriage.

With files from Al Jazeera.

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