Soon, New York may let you choose your

The city is considering a proposal to separate anatomy from gender:
Damien Cave, New York:

New York City is moving ahead with a plan to let people change the sex on their birth certificate even if they have not had sex-change surgery.
Under the rule being considered by the city’s board of health, which is likely to be adopted soon, people born in the city would be able to change the sex on their birth certificates by providing affidavits from a doctor and a mental health professional laying out why their patients should be considered members of the opposite sex, and asserting that the change would be permanent.

Applicants would have to have changed their name and shown that they had lived in their adopted gender for at least two years, but there would be no explicit medical requirements.

“Surgery versus non-surgery can be arbitrary,” said Thomas R Frieden, health commissioner. “It’s the permanence of the transition that matters.” The new rule would put New York at the forefront of efforts to redefine gender. A handful of states do not require surgery for such birth-certificate changes, but in some of those cases patients are still not allowed to make the change without showing a physiological shift to the opposite gender.

The proposed change is an outgrowth of the transgender community’s push to recognise that some people may not have money to get a sex-change operation, while others may not feel the need for the procedure and simply define themselves as members of the opposite sex.

The proposal reflects how the transgender movement has become political ly potent beyond its small numbers.

Transgender advocates consider the proposal an overdue bulwark against discrimination. But some doctors are sceptical, saying sexual self-definition should stop at rewriting medical history.

The change would lead to many intriguing questions. Would a man who becomes a woman be able to marry another man? (Probably.) Would an adoption agency be able to uncover the original sex of a proposed parent? (Only with a court order.) Would a woman who becomes a man be able to play in the National Football League? (These areas are yet to be explored.)


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