Determining sex by other physical characteristics rather than genitalia? Sex is a biological thing, so that wouldn't really work. Determining gender by something or other that is not genitalia or the person's preference? No, thanks... That's a can of worms so big there are not enough fish in all the lakes of the world to eat it. Putting social pressure into doing certain things because it's "what men/women/other do" is the core of sexism. Physical qualities are at least pseudo-objective, even if we might not like them or our brains agree with the setup.
If by sex you mean something like what bodies on average do, or are (perhaps on average, only few a few items I'd guess almost always) capable of, then I suppose there are ways to get at it with science... But I'm not quite certain whether even if that, is necessarily what doctors have been really all that
concerned about when they quickly scope out genital sizes. I don't mean to brush that part away entirely, but personally I'm much more concerned with the social ramifications. It gets very troublesome because in everyday use, people are commonly confusing "sex" and "gender" several ways over, rather than talk about whose perspective or what purpose is being assumed.
If it made no difference to anyone what clothing, jobs, mannerisms, pay scales, on and on whichever sex was associated with socially, then I do wonder if we wouldn't be in a world where fewer people wished to transition. Probably some would still say, but it's just the wrong body type I'm in and anything closer to the 'other' side might be a better manifestation of 'me' than this. Or some would find some other way of describing an ideal "package" in the abstract that just happened to involve assuming a very different body, and it might have different hormones or shape and what not too -- thus calling into question a lot of what it is that for many people at least, feeds into the idea that 'man' or 'woman' are somehow biologically always unique and polar "opposites" (people don't say only different sex, they still say "opposite" sex -- as if only
the differences could ever matter for science). But I do imagine it would be somewhat fewer people going there. Then again, if no one cared at all and if say, US medical costs were managed better?), who knows. It might be completely the opposite and (as in Tanith Lee, but not necessarily so tragically) most everyone would be doing it.
And then there is this vast grey area where some things I'd probably agree and others I'm cautious: Because I don't think that the only thing that makes a "man" or "woman" out of experience is having that body. That really depends. If you are using something like (for example) "woman" to denote precisely, has experienced menstrual cycle for how many years, then sure. Maybe that's a physical description that brings up a set of medical requirements and there needs to be a word for it. Or perhaps people should get used to calling it by name and not referring to it in public through silences, euphemisms, and overwhelmingly border-stretching things like "my woman's time." 'Woman' just happens right now to be the same word that's being used for a whole nother host of mannerisms, philosophies, expectations and social experiences as well as a general body shape with or without menstruation. And there I'm reluctant to say one can only "be" a woman if menstruation, cause people do still seem to enjoy maintaining this vague and messy overlap. And similar things can be said about "man." If we could convince all these people to separate the terms then great, but in the meantime here we are.
Removing sex from birth certificates probably couldn't hurt, though. Although I find more distinction should be made between sex (physical description) and gender (identity) and preferences (what you do - wearing a dress *won't* make you a woman and working on machines *won't* make you a man).
I think those distinctions need a huge amount of work. That should really be happening at the same time and very publicly. It takes education and a bit of courage all around. So I do totally agree about that. Unfortunately, a great many
people (even on sites like E) are fundamentally uncomfortable with some of them, as yet. I suppose I'm just left wondering which is easier, to get people to talk about that, or to keep redefining (reclaiming? adapting?) possible usages of terms like woman and man. And then there's those of us that would love to just get beyond them somehow or other, but I suppose in my case I'm worrying now society won't help with that too much unless those two get shaken up first.
I've always been an advocate of removing sex from CVs and employment forms, though. Unless you're in acting or some such field where appearances matter more, it is completely redundant info that, sadly, has been proven to subconsciously influence some opinions even today.
In principle I pretty much agree, but I'm also frustratedly aware...
This is one of those horrible chicken and egg problems? I mean, people look at names and so many names have been weighted for gender too. So unless we simultaneousy ditch the idea that certain names go with certain (more or less) sexes and (a bit secondary but close) genders, then not filling a blank for sex or even gender may not help much.
There's also a kind of small elephant I've been prodding vaguely but should probably bring out another way at this point: How many people really want
their name to be read differently and mark them as a certain sex or gender, and how many of us at some level perhaps need/enjoy having the understanding that most
of the people with that name, "should" (socially, predictably at least) be people of "our" or "that" type -- You know, just to make sure everyone is all on the same page and respected for being what 'most people' expect of that sort of name (we hope! though it gets messy here with so many perspectives involved). But then, much the same game is being played with fashion and rules about public attire generally, with employer profiling and career channeling, and with so many things that nag people in all of the feminist, queer, and trans camps in certain ways.