December 6, 2006

New York gets cold feet about subjective gender.

You start out wanting to be generous and benevolent and responsive to individuals with difficulties, but sometimes you have to face up to the practical problems:
New York City’s Board of Health unexpectedly withdrew a proposal yesterday that would have allowed people to alter the sex on their birth certificates without sex-change surgery.

The plan, if passed, would have put New York at the forefront of a movement to eliminate anatomical considerations when defining gender. It had been lauded by some mental health professionals and transgender advocates who said it would reduce discrimination against men and women who lived as members of the opposite sex.

But after the proposed change was widely publicized recently, board members and officials with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said that a surge of new concerns arose. Vital records experts said that new federal rules regarding identification documents, due next year, could have forced the policy to be scrapped.

Health officials said patients at hospitals asked how doctors would determine who would be assigned to the bed next to them. And among law enforcement officials, there were concerns about whether prisoners with altered birth certificates could be housed with female prisoners — even if they still had male anatomies.

“This is something we hadn’t fully thought through, frankly,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the city’s health commissioner. “What the birth certificate shows does have implications beyond just what the birth certificate shows.”

28 comments:

kettle said...

How do you reach a position like that without developing the ability to think through some of the consequences of potential policy measures... unk... are any of us ever thinking about anything?

PatCA said...

"It had been lauded by some mental health professionals and transgender advocates.."

I'd love to see what they mean by "some."

SteveR said...

How many other decisions have they made "without fully thinking through"?

reader_iam said...

“What the birth certificate shows does have implications beyond just what the birth certificate shows.”

D'oh!

Tim Sisk said...

Refreshing to read such honesty: "“This is something we hadn’t fully thought through, frankly"

Goesh said...

'Miss' Goesh enters women's bathroom and ogles, even stands on top of toilet seat and peeks over the top of adjoining stalls and bitterly complains when arrested because his new birth certificate says he is female....

Simon said...

A victory for common sense.

Fatmouse said...

This is all a conspiracy to allow the New York team to utterly dominate the WNBA.

Henry said...

In other news...

New York City’s Five Families unexpectedly withdrew a proposal yesterday that would have allowed good fellas to attend lineups in lipstick and platinum wigs.

The plan, if passed, would have put New York at the forefront of a movement to eliminate anatomical considerations in identifying criminals. It had been lauded by some professional criminals and transgressive advocates who said it would reduce the conviction rates of men with previous arrest records....

“This is something we hadn’t fully thought through, frankly,” said Don Vito, head of the Crisco family. “What the mug shot shows does have implications beyond fooling the system. Our guys would rather do the time.”

Harsh Pencil said...

I can't believe you can get your birth certificate changed even if you have had a "sex change" operation. Shouldn't your birth certificate state the facts on the table at the time of birth? If I change my name to Napoleon Dynamite, can I get my birth certificate changed so it looks like I was born with that name?

Fitz said...

Simon (& others)

I don’t believe this should be viewed as a "A victory for common sense. nor should it be fodder for wise cracks and general levity.

This is but a single front in a multi-prong attack on the very concept of human sexuality itself. Its obvious implications range from the powerful legal trend toward “the autonomous self” and “liberty interests” to feminist utopian ideals of a post-gender society.

Stalin said “Facts are stubborn things”
This was anything but a quip for Uncle Joe.
On the contrary it was a call for persistence and determination by the revolutionary class to let absolutely nothing stand in the way of its vision of a classless society.

Sigivald said...

Is it wrong that I automatically discount to zero anything said by "transgender advocates"?

Or is it very, very right, given copious examples?

Simon said...

Fitz:
"Stalin said 'Facts are stubborn things'"

Uh...That was said by John Adams, not Joseph Stalin. It was part of his defense of eight British soldiers who carried out the 1770 Boston Massacre (so far as I know, Stalin was not practicing law in Massachusetts shortly before the Revolutionary War), and the full quote is that "facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."

katiebakes said...

Fatmouse - knowing the Knicks, they probably wouldn't.

Tibore said...

Excuse me, but why was this even considered? Removing "anatomical considerations when defining gender" eliminates the only objective criteria for gender. Whether someone chooses a lifestyle contrary to the social norms of their gender does not change whether they have an X chromosome or certain genetalia!

I would never say that someone that wants to live as the opposite sex should be legally prevented. Heavens no! Not government's business. But at the same time, the record needs to be accurate! Changing the gender on the birth certificate should never have even been considered. Except in the rare cases where there's either a physiological difference obscuring gender - yes, those exist - or some sort of chromosome disorder, there is a clear, objective difference at birth between the genders, and saying otherwise on the birth certificates would be a deliberate lie.

I'm shocked that some peple even thought this was a good idea.

Leland said...

If New York wanted to make a little money, they would allow people to change their date of birth on their birth certificates. I mean if its seems like a good idea to change names and gender, why stop there? And look at the demographics would line up to pay big bucks to change their birth date (particularly year):

Minors wanting to legally drive, buy cigarettes, and drink liquor.

Adults wanting to have sex with minors.

Women wanting to brag that they are 21 again.

Everyone wanting to collect on social security and pensions while in the prime of their life.

Bruce Hayden said...

I agree that birth gender should be on the birth certificats - after all, that is what you are born with.

But there probably should be a third choice, possibly a "unknown" or something for that small fraction who truly are indeterminate at birth.

Or, maybe the answer is to do genetic testing, and provide the number of X and Y chromosones on the birth certificate. This would have a number of possible beneifits:
- No more retracting of Olympic medals from apparent women who turn out to have a Y chromosone,
- With current technology, the number of X and Y chromosones cannot be changed, as compared to external genitalia.
- Those with extra sex chromosones can be identified at birth and watched more closely for devient behavior.
- In cases where gender is not apparent at birth, because, for example, a baby is born with both types of genitalia, the set associated with genetics can be selected, reducing the chances of picking wrong here.
- The Trany crowd can't really complain because DNA is DNA.
- And most likely many other glorious advantages would flow from this small suggestion.

Anonymous said...

Great idea, Leland!

I can hear by younger brothers now. "See, like, in my mind, I'm waaay more mature than a bunch of guys I know who are over 21, so, like, totally they should change my birth certificate to reflect my mental age, not my physical age. I consider myself to be much older than what my body looks like."

Bruce Hayden said...

Actually, probably even better than changing one's birthdate would be changing one's ethnic ancestry. Right now, I am thinking of becoming a mix of Black and Pacific Islander - but need to also change my birth name to also become Hispanic.

Come to think of it, this may be the way to ultimately destroy Affirmative Action. Humm..

Revenant said...

A man who believes himself to be a woman is not "transgendered". He is merely incorrect.

Anonymous said...

Backing out of a landmark decision because of administrative problems is a weak cop out.

Disagree with the reality of cross dressing, transgender, and transsexual (and it is a reality) all you want, but backing out of something based on administrative issues instead of how the decision would affect real people is wrong.

The NY measure required commitment to the new gender, as well as, a mental health official to sign off on it.

And the some that patca questioned isn't as 'some' at patca assumes.

Joe Baby said...

Could a married person legally change their gender, thus forcing the state to recognize a gay marriage (or divorce)?

Finn Kristiansen said...

Bruce Hayden said...
...I am thinking of becoming a mix of Black and Pacific Islander - but need to also change my birth name to also become Hispanic.

Come to think of it, this may be the way to ultimately destroy Affirmative Action. Humm..


I'm no fan of affirmative action, however, you might begin by changing your gender to female, because white women have been some of the leading beneficiaries of affirmative action policies. Our corporations and schools are not flooded with blacks filling up those ranks, and a great many set aside programs include women among the class of beneficiaries.

Yes it does need to go, partly because it no longer serves its original intent, and because it is not particularly fair when all people are not treated equally.

(However, while I am loathe to charge people in the present for crimes in the past (slavery), the residue of crimes from the past existed throughout the 1900's (right up to the '60s) in everything from home loans, to housing choices, to jobs, to insurance.

How many people today have benefited from insurance in their family lines that blacks in the past could not get?)

I would doubt Mr.Hayden would choose to be black, regardless of the perceived reward, if given the choice, though I do applaud his desire to dismantle affirmative action by accident.

Revenant said...

the residue of crimes from the past existed throughout the 1900's (right up to the '60s) in everything from home loans, to housing choices, to jobs, to insurance

Is there anyone in the world that that isn't worse off than they would be if it hadn't been for mistreatment of their ancestors? The world isn't fair. Suck it up.

Finn Kristiansen said...

Revenant said...
The world isn't fair. Suck it up.


Indeed, neither is affirmative action fair, so we ought to shut up and suck it up too? Talk to Hayden.

In more than a few cases some minorities have dealt with the usual unfairness you have been sucking up, plus some additional unfairness. That is, some people must suck up, have sucked up, quite a bit more. And while not getting into a sucking contest, and agreeing that affirmative action needs to go, I can still acknowledge the great difficulties people have.

I would not tell a Jewish person to suck it up (as relating to the difficulties of their grandparents in the Holocaust), nor a black person to suck it up, nor you to suck it up, even though, from your suggestion, you must have sucked quite a bit.

Revenant said...

Indeed, neither is affirmative action fair, so we ought to shut up and suck it up too?

That's a stupid counterexample. We can vote to end modern racist policies such as affirmative action. We cannot vote to change the past.

I would not tell a Jewish person to suck it up (as relating to the difficulties of their grandparents in the Holocaust)

I would, and have, told Jewish people who did not live through the Holocaust to stop trying to pretend that the world owes them something for it. I have told black people similar things when they try to act like slavery personally affected them. It personally affected them in the sense that they'd be scratching out a living in Africa on fifty cents a day if their ancestors hadn't been dragged here in chains. Their ancestors suffered; they didn't. They are, in fact, better off for the deal.

Richard said...

This is something we hadn’t fully thought through, frankly,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the city’s health commissioner.

I could while away the hours, conferrin' with the flowers
Consultin' with the rain.
And my head I'd be scratchin' while
my thoughts were busy hatchin'
If I only had a brain.
I'd unravel every riddle for any individ'le,
In trouble or in pain.
With the thoughts you'll be thinkin'
you could be another Lincoln
If you only had a brain.
Oh, I could tell you why The ocean's near the shore.
I could think of things I never thunk before.
And then I'd sit, and think some more.
I would not be just a nothin' my head all full of stuffin'
My heart all full of pain.
I would dance and be merry, life would be a ding-a-derry,
If I only had a brain.

Richard said...

This is something we hadn’t fully thought through, frankly,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the city’s health commissioner.

I could while away the hours, conferrin' with the flowers
Consultin' with the rain.
And my head I'd be scratchin' while
my thoughts were busy hatchin'
If I only had a brain.
I'd unravel every riddle for any individ'le,
In trouble or in pain.
With the thoughts you'll be thinkin'
you could be another Lincoln
If you only had a brain.
Oh, I could tell you why The ocean's near the shore.
I could think of things I never thunk before.
And then I'd sit, and think some more.
I would not be just a nothin' my head all full of stuffin'
My heart all full of pain.
I would dance and be merry, life would be a ding-a-derry,
If I only had a brain.