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Author Topic: Birth Certificates without Sex, anyone?  (Read 2099 times)

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Offline kylieTopic starter

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Birth Certificates without Sex, anyone?
« on: September 02, 2015, 10:34:14 PM »
      Much of the transgender movement (along with some other, I think less visible ones) has been concerned with making social space for people to express themselves as whatever gender identity they feel most at home in.  For quite a few people, there is a sense of "always" or long having been "really" a different identity, if not even "belonging in a different body."  Personally, I think it is hard to separate where self-direction begins and social pressure ends in some of this but the end result is the same.  There's a great concern about people growing up feeling 'wrong,' lacking a sense of fit with the gender roles often demanded of them by various corners of society, and having a basic part of one's sense of self and identity denied from the outset. 

     Standing conventions place one firm bureaucratic roadblock: They issue a birth certificate which marks people as male or female immediately (someone correct me if they wait in some regions?  should this say perhaps, "or very early on"?).  The long-standing "procedure" has been for doctors to make a visual inspection of the child's genital region and pronounce a decision.  Research has found that doctors made decisions based upon very small differences in observed tissue dimensions, and in some cases these decisions themselves have not been consistent across various doctors.  In addition, a minority of infants have a number of physical situations where their genitals are considered ambiguous or outside the standard dichotomy.  (Upon closer inspection, chromosomes are also not neatly matched in everyone either and a few of them are also presenting quite uncommon arrangements.  But doctors generally do not even go looking there anyway.)

     Now, there are some moves being made to detach sex (and socially speaking, thereby ideas about not only physiology but what gender expectations might be slapped upon one) from birth certificates.  I am just learning about this myself and I am in a bit of a hurry today, but here's a quick starter from a Daily Caller article

     At least one Canadian region has a discussion starting about removing sex from the birth certificate, period:

Quote
The Human Rights Tribunal of British Columbia is reviewing the case to remove identification of sex on birth certificates because critics say it is discriminatory for doctors to assign a baby’s sex “based on a quick inspection of the … genitals at birth,” National Post Canada reports.

Morgane Oger, chair of the Trans Alliance Society that is leading the charge on this movement, says that “birth certificates give false information about people and characterize them in a way that is actually wrong, … caus[ing] people actual harm.”


     In the US, there is a situation brewing somewhat akin to...  (Any guesses? yes...)  The situation of same-sex marriage ten years or so ago.  At least, some states may become willing to at least, retroactively change the documentation.  Others are already digging in their heels trying to freeze the status quo.  Now, how long is this going to be manageable before it becomes a Supreme Court case, too?

Quote

As of 2014, Rhode Island will issue a new birth certificate with new sex identification without any proof of surgery. R.I. Gen. Laws § 23-3-21 (2005). But on the other hand in Kansas, the sex issued on a birth certificate can only be amended if it was improperly recorded — not after a sex change. K.S.A. § 65-2422c (2009).


          ...  So, what would change if birth certificates did not list sex (or perhaps, if anyone could change their listed sex at will)?  Do you feel people would impose and maintain the same sort of gender conventions another way?  I'd like to think we could at least focus on identifying people by characteristics that are much more publicly observable and socially dignified than genital measurements.  Perhaps even something that people have a smidget of control over -- I dunno, how they like to wear their hair instead of how they've been taught "men should" for the past forever (setting aside nasty employers, or better overturning them -- "You can't prove I'm a guy"?!)  Or is there too much variety there, and really no one can handle all that -- so it would have to be boiled down to some other terribly simplistic system with another wave of simplistic and perhaps discriminatory assertions and preferences?  Or would the focus of tension perhaps, shift off gender just a touch and more on to race (again!) or some other category somehow? 

      And just well, can you imagine starting life without sex listed on some piece of paper for everyone.  I think it could be awesome, but it does raise the question of where all that tension and assumption would go, and how much would change.  Obviously it would be bureaucratically easier to avoid demands to behave according to gender roles -- but socially, heaven forbid imo, would people merely threw up the same barriers another way?
« Last Edit: September 02, 2015, 10:38:09 PM by kylie »

Offline Aethereal

Re: Birth Certificates without Sex, anyone?
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2015, 11:18:48 PM »
        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.
        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'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.

Offline kylieTopic starter

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Re: Birth Certificates without Sex, anyone?
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2015, 12:31:46 AM »
        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.   

Quote
        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.

Quote
       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.
 
« Last Edit: September 03, 2015, 12:37:15 AM by kylie »

Offline Aethereal

Re: Birth Certificates without Sex, anyone?
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2015, 01:08:11 AM »
        A small note: I use man/woman/agender/genderless/genderfluid/et cetera (there are too many to list, really) to refer exclusively to gender, and male/female/intersex to refer exclusively to sex.
       I find it'd be much easier if everyone adhered to that logic. We have male animals and female animals, female plugs and male plugs - female/male/intersex/hermaphrodite/etc have been used for purely physical characteristics in science/tech/cattle raisin for ages. (I've noted before that female/male unless used for humans in other contexts but physical description feels just slightly derogatory undertone. Compare "Hey, man, what are you doing?" to "Hey, male, what are you doing?" - Do you notice the tone change there?)
    ...But we don't have man animals and woman animals outside of anthropomorphizing of our pets, and "man" machines and "woman" machines only exist as the result of stereotypes that needed to die long ago.

       I agree with you about education - it's a bit insufficient. But if we don't educate people at every chance we get, how are we ever going to change anything? It's one of the things we should work on.

      I personally am a female woman, and heterosexual (or androsexual, if you'd prefer - in any case I'm only attracted to the male body type - one of the few cases where sex matters). I am also many stereotypically "masculine" things, apparently, even when being mislabeled somewhat bothers me. But I'm nevertheless 100% woman, I feel like a woman, and I love being a woman. I love my body and its shape despite not caring about those of other females.  It's mine. It feels right. It's not perfect, sure, but it's not like a scar or occasional minor inconvenience matters much, I love it regardless. I also find dresses and skirts a nuisance, want nothing to do with makeup, (I do like some jewelry, though...) and would rather build things in my garage or program than go shopping or cook. I enjoy hard physical activity and am a dominant personality, also a protector rather than nurturer.
      I would love to live in a world where, every now and then (though pretty much exclusively on the Internet, as I'm living in a fairly progressive place), I wouldn't have to deal with someone who either looks at me like I'm some kind of freak of nature or comes up with yet another of those "but women don't..." arguments. The same has happened at least once with practically all women I know. Apparently no woman I know is "properly woman," whatever that is supposed to mean.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2015, 01:10:52 AM by Shienvien »

Offline eBadger

Re: Birth Certificates without Sex, anyone?
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2015, 04:00:52 PM »
Listing sex on a birth certificate (and similarly on a death certificate) has more than a merely social impact, which is actually fairly secondary to the key use: establishment of health information.  It is useful and worthwhile to know, for instance, if female children are developing cancer at twice the rate of males under 5, or other such characteristics.  Thinning this down with gender issues corrupts the data. 

Sex can (and I would agree should) be more specified than a simple male/female dichotomy, and I admit ignorance regarding whether that actually occurs anywhere or what procedures exist for indeterminate cases.  Personally, I think it should ideally be entirely based on chromosomal information (XX, XY, other, at the very least) but that would require testing of every child, with the associated costs and would still have potential for error, and would also introduce issues of privacy (what happens to kids whose parents refuse the test?  Or are we requiring biological samples from everyone?)

I agree with removal, or gender based terms, on many other forms: drivers licenses, for example.  But not on medical information. 

Offline Aethereal

Re: Birth Certificates without Sex, anyone?
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2015, 08:00:36 PM »
Quote
Personally, I think it should ideally be entirely based on chromosomal information (XX, XY, other, at the very least)
       There are XY female humans - it is enough to have two mutations in two genes on the Y chromosome and you've yourself a female who might never realize they are anything but a female save for their infertility. There have been a few cases like that where women never find out before they go through all sorts of tests in relation to their infertility, only for it to eventually come out that they are XY. They are physiologically nigh indistinguishable from other females.

      That, and such tests are rather privacy-breaking.

Offline LisztesFerenc

Re: Birth Certificates without Sex, anyone?
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2015, 08:23:41 PM »
       There are XY female humans - it is enough to have two mutations in two genes on the Y chromosome and you've yourself a female who might never realize they are anything but a female save for their infertility. There have been a few cases like that where women never find out before they go through all sorts of tests in relation to their infertility, only for it to eventually come out that they are XY. They are physiologically nigh indistinguishable from other females.

      That, and such tests are rather privacy-breaking.

  Yeah, its my understanding they only found this out when genetic testing was introduced for the Olympics. At least that's what my chemistry teacher told me.

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Re: Birth Certificates without Sex, anyone?
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2015, 08:32:50 PM »
Not sure when the genetics testing was started for the Olympics, but CAIS (complete androgen insensitivity syndrome) has been studied at least since the 1950s.  CAIS is the most common cause of a female phenotype with a 46,XY karyotype.

Offline kylieTopic starter

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Re: Birth Certificates without Sex, anyone?
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2015, 01:00:40 AM »
    Backing up a second...  I can imagine a few situations where it might help to have, say, some kind of medical or phyisiological descriptor on one's identity docs. For instance, emergency services might like to know your blood type if you are knocked out in an accident. Or perhaps if one has a severe allergy or some ongoing condition that requires proof for medications?

     But what are the situations where one would generally need a birth certificate to prove sex? Aren't these usually social situations where gender roles are being severely restricted, like in doubt (if anyone thinks to doubt, for some) can you enter some exclusive club or say, can you teach students of a given sex in a strictly segregated country like Saudi? Are there so many of such divisions that we need to have it fixed on a birth record to support them? And couldn't some less 'birth' oriented system be invented even for those, if one really must support enforcing such divisions through bureaucracy as such?

Offline kylieTopic starter

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Re: Birth Certificates without Sex, anyone?
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2015, 04:39:15 AM »
     Germany allows registration of babies whose 'sex can't be determined' without a sex entry.

     This still doesn't deal with the question of how people identify versus what some doctor thinks they saw as normal enough to pass or not.  But it's at least a systemic, formal recognition that medical sex is not simply binary for everyone.  And it should (ideally) lead people to ask whether med sex is even stable in the sort of binary it typically pursues...  And/or what about identity changes clashing with this document.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2015, 04:40:24 AM by kylie »

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Re: Birth Certificates without Sex, anyone?
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2015, 07:47:53 AM »
I agree with removal, or gender based terms, on many other forms: drivers licenses, for example.  But not on medical information.

I agree with this. We should keep it for things that are of medical or legal reasons, like to help prevent identity theft and such. Otherwise I'm fine with things being more gender neutral.

Plus if you've had a gender change that is probably something a doctor needs to know before pumping you full of meds or performing a surgery if you have been knocked out and are unresponsive. Better safe than sorry is all I'm saying.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2015, 07:50:08 AM by Lustful Bride »

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Birth Certificates without Sex, anyone?
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2015, 08:17:02 AM »
But how often do you see paramedics going "They're unresponsive! Do we have a birth certificate?" Birth certs are legal documentation, not medical. Listing sex on them serves no meaningful function except to make things difficult for trans people (take a look at how many bigoted bathroom laws revolve around birth certificates, and how most jurisdictions refuse to allow a change of gender markers in legal, non-medical documentation without SRS). Why shouldn't we fix that?

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Re: Birth Certificates without Sex, anyone?
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2015, 08:22:08 AM »
But how often do you see paramedics going "They're unresponsive! Do we have a birth certificate?" Birth certs are legal documentation, not medical. Listing sex on them serves no meaningful function except to make things difficult for trans people (take a look at how many bigoted bathroom laws revolve around birth certificates, and how most jurisdictions refuse to allow a change of gender markers in legal, non-medical documentation without SRS). Why shouldn't we fix that?

I guess I see your point and that should be corrected, but im just not entirerly sure that we must throw this out.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2015, 08:23:16 AM by Lustful Bride »

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Re: Birth Certificates without Sex, anyone?
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2015, 08:27:12 AM »
I'm with you in that it shouldn't be entirely removed from medical information (though I think, given the role transphobia plays in making medical care more difficult to access for trans folk, that there's a strong argument for not making it the first thing a doc sees). Not arguing that at all. But gender markers on legal information are causing active and obvious harm. Is there an offsetting benefit to justify their presence?

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Re: Birth Certificates without Sex, anyone?
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2015, 08:44:05 AM »
Is there an offsetting benefit to justify their presence?

Not sure, im not really a legal and law person im afraid. I wouldn't really know the best course of action there.

Offline Mnemaxa

Re: Birth Certificates without Sex, anyone?
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2016, 03:24:27 PM »
My biggest issue is that sex and gender actually are necessary pieces of information to a very specific and very important group of people who have a direct effect on the people they deal with - health care professionals. 

Many hospitals have started a policy of asking for both pieces of information, and whether you are transitioning or not, not to label you, but because they NEED TO KNOW if what they are going to do to you medically might cause harm.  Basic physiology demands sex be identified, because if you have boy bits, drugs that affect your testosterone levels are going to have a pretty severe impact on you while someone with girl bits might not notice at all.  Hormone therapy plays with some of the most powerful chemicals in the human body, so knowing what's going on in there is kind of critical. 

I would love to see a more tolerant world, but I'm not willing to risk people's health - or life - on it.


Offline Song

Re: Birth Certificates without Sex, anyone?
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2016, 03:27:29 AM »
My biggest issue is that sex and gender actually are necessary pieces of information to a very specific and very important group of people who have a direct effect on the people they deal with - health care professionals. 

Many hospitals have started a policy of asking for both pieces of information, and whether you are transitioning or not, not to label you, but because they NEED TO KNOW if what they are going to do to you medically might cause harm.  Basic physiology demands sex be identified, because if you have boy bits, drugs that affect your testosterone levels are going to have a pretty severe impact on you while someone with girl bits might not notice at all.  Hormone therapy plays with some of the most powerful chemicals in the human body, so knowing what's going on in there is kind of critical. 

I would love to see a more tolerant world, but I'm not willing to risk people's health - or life - on it.

That's all well and good.

However, speaking as someone who works in the medical field, birth Certificate is a legal document. It's not a relevant medical record. If my doctor asked to see my birth certificate to determine my sex, I would get a new doctor. I have absolutely zero issues with my sex being in medical documents, and the information being at hand for the doctors to know, so they can give me the appropriate treatment, but I've never heard of a doctor requiring to see your birth certificate, of all things. I don't even have one, since it'd only be necessary for me if I were to, say, apply for a new piece of ID without having a passport (Seeing as how having a bio-metric passport pretty much eradicates the need of any other forms of ID.)

Birth Certificates serve the sole purpose of being a piece of legal paperwork that can be used to determine a part of your identity. More specifically, its sole purpose is to supply the evidence for you having been born at a certain place at a certain place. That's all. This is its only legal purpose. People can choose to require your birth certificate for this or that, but from a legal stand point, it's nothing more. There is absolutely no reason to have a person's sex/gender printed on it, it's irrelevant to the document, the same as it is irrelevant to your passport and your driver's licence. None of these are medical documents, none of these are ever used by doctors to determine a person's sex, not least because the information could be wrong from a medical stand point. If a person's sex is in doubt, and is needed to know, there are other, more reliable ways of finding this out.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2016, 03:29:30 AM by Song »

Offline Mnemaxa

Re: Birth Certificates without Sex, anyone?
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2016, 05:13:47 AM »

Birth Certificates serve the sole purpose of being a piece of legal paperwork that can be used to determine a part of your identity.

That's part of why sex is on birth records.  A lot of legal implications can come from mistaken identity, and while it may seem sexist, sex as a determinant of identity can be fairly important.  When we get to the point of genetic markers being used to identity people, that would be easier, but there have been cases where identifying someone comes down to their non-genetic sexual characteristics (often long after their body has decomposed, but it can still matter).

As for legal implications, you're right.  A birth certificate may not matter for health reasons later in life, but when you have no other records to verify you are of one or the other sexes, it could potentially become important.   But that's my opinion.

Offline Song

Re: Birth Certificates without Sex, anyone?
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2016, 07:17:32 AM »
That's part of why sex is on birth records.  A lot of legal implications can come from mistaken identity, and while it may seem sexist, sex as a determinant of identity can be fairly important.  When we get to the point of genetic markers being used to identity people, that would be easier, but there have been cases where identifying someone comes down to their non-genetic sexual characteristics (often long after their body has decomposed, but it can still matter).

As for legal implications, you're right.  A birth certificate may not matter for health reasons later in life, but when you have no other records to verify you are of one or the other sexes, it could potentially become important.   But that's my opinion.

You might intuitively think so, and I get that, but you would be wrong. Sex is not a part of how we identify people. Have you ever been asked for your gender as a part of identifying process? If you have, it's a violation of your privacy, because it is unnecessary. Not only is it unnecessary, but it may actually contribute to confusion in the case of inter sexed, trans-gender, and any shades in between. I've never heard of a body, or anyone else being identified by their sexual characteristics, other than in archaeology (and even then, usually to rule out who they are not.)

I can think of no situation where identifying your gender by birth certificate (or any other legal document) would be important, at any point in your life. It's not really a matter of opinion when such situations do not even exist. Granted, they exist in countries where discrimination is plenty (for example, gay marriages being illegal.)
« Last Edit: January 11, 2016, 07:28:18 AM by Song »

Offline Mnemaxa

Re: Birth Certificates without Sex, anyone?
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2016, 08:51:14 AM »
Song, you're conflating 'sex' as I used it and 'gender' as I used it.  Biological sex is an identifier, right down to the genetic level and in many legal cases it has been one of the determinants for resolution of the case (a crime committed by someone identified as male by genetics immediately excludes a huge section of the population, etc.).  Gender is an identifier only as far as cultural and social structure allows for, even as we slowly approach a more enlightened age.  In the case of medical professionals, not identifying your gender to them can be harmful if you're transitioning simply due to medical issues - it's a safety measure, not a prejudicial issue.  Legally speaking, the change of gender can become an issue, and has in courts of law, and birth certificates are one way to prove an original sex without resorting to genetic testing, something that was once unavilable.  Another reason I remarked sex on birth certificates as an identifier is that it prevents a certain amount of identity theft while complicating gender issues - someone with a birth certificate for a boy is going to have a hard time applying for a social security card when they're a woman, for instance.

The other thing people forget that birth certificates are used for is tracking the ratio of male-female-intersexed births in a country.  That information can be important in the long run; Japan and China are both in serious trouble as a result of enforced male births.  Gender on a birth certificate is pointless, I agree completely.  Sex on a BC can be important in some cases, which is the only point I was really trying to make.

Offline Song

Re: Birth Certificates without Sex, anyone?
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2016, 09:22:16 AM »
Song, you're conflating 'sex' as I used it and 'gender' as I used it.  Biological sex is an identifier, right down to the genetic level and in many legal cases it has been one of the determinants for resolution of the case (a crime committed by someone identified as male by genetics immediately excludes a huge section of the population, etc.).  Gender is an identifier only as far as cultural and social structure allows for, even as we slowly approach a more enlightened age.  In the case of medical professionals, not identifying your gender to them can be harmful if you're transitioning simply due to medical issues - it's a safety measure, not a prejudicial issue.  Legally speaking, the change of gender can become an issue, and has in courts of law, and birth certificates are one way to prove an original sex without resorting to genetic testing, something that was once unavilable.  Another reason I remarked sex on birth certificates as an identifier is that it prevents a certain amount of identity theft while complicating gender issues - someone with a birth certificate for a boy is going to have a hard time applying for a social security card when they're a woman, for instance.

The other thing people forget that birth certificates are used for is tracking the ratio of male-female-intersexed births in a country.  That information can be important in the long run; Japan and China are both in serious trouble as a result of enforced male births.  Gender on a birth certificate is pointless, I agree completely.  Sex on a BC can be important in some cases, which is the only point I was really trying to make.

Perhaps you misunderstand sex as it is in your Birth Certificate: It's not a result of a through, scientific examination, it's a case of brief visual examination that can actually be wrong. It's not something that gets used in any legal matter. I could keep repeating this forever and ever here, but I think this is the last time. Sex can be used to determine who someone is not, not who someone is.

In medical field, we don't use birth certificates to determine someone's sex or gender. So I'm not sure why this is still a matter of debate. Of course we want you to identify your sex correctly, but we trust you to have that information, and I'd rather you didn't get that information from your BC, since it can be wrong.

We also don't list DNA and fingerprints on Birth Certificates, even if they can be used in forensic science. There are other means of tracking male to female to inter-sex birth ratios that don't need to be in the birth certificate (granted it's currently as you say.)
« Last Edit: January 11, 2016, 09:33:13 AM by Song »

Offline DudelRok

Re: Birth Certificates without Sex, anyone?
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2016, 08:56:11 AM »
The listing of sex on the birth certificate is for census. In theory, it helps with certain statistics, those statistics help with how your government spends money.

So I'd just change it to "Birth Sex" or something similar, including "Undetermined" as an option.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Birth Certificates without Sex, anyone?
« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2016, 11:01:34 AM »
I am really not certain removal of the actual portion on the birth certificate matters either way.  At some point the child will be considered male or female.  If not by the birth certificate, than by medical record or if they encounter pretty much any aspect of the government.  So just seems arbitrary either way.  I don't see an actual point to the paper document bearing the title, but the medical record and the government identification records will still say male or female.

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Re: Birth Certificates without Sex, anyone?
« Reply #23 on: January 25, 2016, 11:09:31 AM »
I am really not certain removal of the actual portion on the birth certificate matters either way.  At some point the child will be considered male or female.  If not by the birth certificate, than by medical record or if they encounter pretty much any aspect of the government.  So just seems arbitrary either way.  I don't see an actual point to the paper document bearing the title, but the medical record and the government identification records will still say male or female.

This is not necessarily true.  In some countries, the option for a third gender is allowed.  Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Germany, New Zealand, and Australia have taken this step, and there is some speculation that Thailand may (or may have already) followed suit.

http://testtube.com/testtubenews/which-countries-recognize-a-third-gender

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Birth Certificates without Sex, anyone?
« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2016, 11:15:38 AM »
Do the parents select the third gender or does the individual?  Also are we talking sex or gender?