A 24-year-old Canadian man has legally changed his gender in order to save over $1,000 on his car insurance. Women in Canada, just like their American counterparts, are a lower insurance risk when it comes to driving, and thus they pay a lower rate.
The man did not change his appearance or clothing, nor did he undergo sex reassignment surgery. He simply asked for — and received — a note from his doctor stating he wished to be legally identified as a woman.
“I just basically asked for it and told them that I identify as a woman, or I’d like to identify as a woman, and he wrote me the letter I wanted,” the man told the CBC.
The CBC reports he doesn’t actually identify as a woman.
“I have taken advantage of a loophole,” he said. “I’m a man, 100 per cent. Legally, I’m a woman.”
“I didn’t do it to point out how easy it is to change genders. I didn’t do it to criticize or ridicule transgender or LGBT rights.”
“I did it for cheaper car insurance.”
The man’s story has caused controversy, from members of the trans community expressing outrage to a Canadian official tweeting the man has committed “the crime of perjury punishable by up to 14 years in prison,” DailyMail.com reports.
But does the Canadian “loophole” the man exploited exist in the United States?
The short answer is: it depends.
The United States government does not have a federal policy for change of gender; these regulations are left to the states. Each state has different requirements for certifying a legal change of gender, and these requirements have changed recently in most states.
For example, Idaho requires a transgender person to have had surgery in order for the state to recognize the new gender.
Illinois requires either gender-reassignment surgery or a letter from a mental health professional.
Alaska does not require any surgery in order to change one’s legal gender.
While changing one’s gender to female could result in lower car insurance payments, changing one’s gender to male does not lower one’s health insurance payments. The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, outlawed the practice of using gender as a risk profile. Thus, even though women use health care far more than men do, women and men pay the same rate for health insurance.