Should people be able to change the sex on their birth certificates?


Fact Box

  • The biological term ‘sex,’ is defined as “the state of being male or female.” A male is a man (an adult male human) or boy (a male child) who belongs to the “sex that does not lay eggs or give birth to babies.” A female is a woman (an adult female human) or a girl (a female child) who belongs to the “sex that can lay eggs or give birth to babies.” 
  • The American College of Pediatrics released a 2021 statement asserting “gender identity, resting largely upon a psychological comfort or discomfort with one’s biological sex, is neither innate nor immutable and does not in any way determine biological sex.” 
  • John Money (1921-2006) invented the concept of ‘gender identity.’ Opening the first US gender clinic at Johns Hopkins University in 1966, Money was among the first doctors to study/perform “sex reassignment surgeries” and tested his gender theory on the male-born Reimer twins in the controversial “John/Joan” case. 
  • A 2018 Pew Research survey reports around 42% of Americans believe forms or online profiles should ask about a person’s gender and “include options other than ‘man’ and ‘woman’ for people who don’t identify as either.”
  • As of February 24, 2021, a Gallup report estimates 5.6% of US adults identify as LGBTQ, with 11.3% of that group identifying as transgender.

Kieran (Yes)

Transgender people must be able to change their sex on their birth certificates to obtain accurate legal documentation, protecting themselves from discrimination, and to affirm their gender identity. Birth certificates are used primarily for identification, rather than as medical records. The process to obtain other forms of identification, such as passports and driver's licenses, can require your birth certificate, though the rules vary from state to state.

According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, only one-fifth of transgender Americans have been able to update all of their IDs. A survey conducted by that organization also confirmed that identification that contradicts one's presented gender 'exposes people to a range of negative outcomes, from denial of employment, housing, and public benefits to harassment and physical violence.” Federal law does not explicitly protect trans people from discrimination, though they are sometimes protected by sex discrimination by state laws. Documentation that reveals transgender status violates privacy and medical history and subjects trans people to discrimination and harassment from which they have little recourse. Almost one-third of surveyed trans individuals claimed to have been harassed, denied services, or assaulted because of documentation that conflicted with their chosen name or presented gender.

By definition, identification documents represent who you are. Having identification that denies gender identity can cause psychological distress. Mainstream psychiatry takes the position that transgender people experience distress from society's rejection of their gender identity, not their transgender status. Documentation that records an inaccurate name and gender is a cruel reminder of the discrimination transgender people face.   

Stephanie (No)

Allowing individuals to change the sex on their birth certificates is a ridiculous notion that makes a mockery of science, as hard facts cannot simply be erased, and a declaration cannot literally change one's sex.

With the rare exception of intersex individuals, which affects 'about 1 in 1,000,” sex is not fluid in the way that transgender people and their allies claim gender is. Sex is determined by chromosomes, gonads, and internal and external sex organs.

Arguably, changing the sex on a birth certificate permits the transgender movement to go too far. While it is fine for individuals to identify as the opposite gender, it remains impossible to change what is simply because they do not agree with it. A suggested compromise to this debate, which Planned Parenthood even encourages, is how those who do not agree with their sex can refer to such as their 'biological sex' or as having had their 'sex assigned at birth.”

Changing the sex on birth certificates allows further sex and gender controversy involving issues such as individuals attempting to compete in athletics for the opposite sex and others inappropriately using gender-specific facilities such as bathrooms and changing rooms.

In 2019, '16 Connecticut women's rights and gender justice groups signed a statement,' claiming, 'Transgender girls are girls, and transgender women are women. They are not and should not be referred to as boys or men, biological or otherwise.”

Legally permitting changes on birth certificates gives groups with similar opinions ammunition to advocate for biologically false sex discrepancies.

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