Daily Archives: December 6, 2006

New York City Gets It Wrong on Gender and Birth Certificates

After so nearly getting it right, the New York City Board of Health decided to withdraw its proposal to let people adjust the gender on their birth certificates even if they don’t get surgery to alter their genitals.

And they so nearly got it right. Until yesterday it looked like they were going to go through with the proposal, their proposal which would have let individuals who were living as the gender other than that which they were assigned at birth to make a correction on their birth certificates. Only those who actually surgically “correct” their gender are currently eligible to do this.

If you have had gender reassignment surgery, you can now actually change the gender indicated on your birth certificate instead simply deleting your old one, as was the case until yesterday. That’s an improvement, but not nearly as signficant an improvement as it would have been to allow such changes for those who opt not to have surgery, or who can’t afford it yet.

Why should surgery matter? It’s a preposterous requirement. If I am living, and passing, as a man, and I intend to do so for the rest of my life, why should I not be allowed to alter my birth certificate?

“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.”

So, the mere possession of a penis is threatening to woman-identified people in hospital beds or prison cells? While “threat” is not mentioned in the New York Times article, it is the only fear or concern that I can imagine be behind this objection.

And yet, the possession of a penis on its own is no threat. The socialization about what one should do with one’s penis — now there is a potential source of threat. But presumably those who identify as girls or women did not receive or internalize that socialization, at least not in a way that made them feel “like men.” So they are not men, in effect, and are not threats. (Disclosure: I don’t believe that socialization makes men necessarily threatening. I believe that overly identifying with masculine gender role as presented in the US is, potentially, dangerous.)

In addition, birth certificate inspection is not generally a part of the admission process for hospitals or prisons.

I don’t understand how we can get so close to a smart progressive policy and then back away from it like this. It’s tremendously disappointing. It’s way more disappointing than it would have been if, after public hearings and careful consideration they had proposed not to make the change in the first place. Here they actually, as a Board of Health, put the proposal together. And now they withdraw it because of concerns that have no basis in data or rational thinking, but only refer to fear and gender stereotypes.

We were so close.

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Filed under Gender, News and politics, public discourse, sex, sex and health

Free Plan B – Today!!

Planned Parenthood is offering free Plan B Emergency Contraception today only as part of an awareness about backing up your birth control.

If you are sexually active and trying to preventing pregnancy, get out there and get your EC! Get it before you need it. Be prepared. I got mine a few weeks ago, when it first became available over the counter in my neighborhood and I just checked the expiration date. It’s good through July of 2010! Get some so you have it on hand. If you don’t need it, a friend might.

Here is a list of the participating chapters, taken from the Planned Parenthood press release about the program:

Planned Parenthood of Alaska AK
Planned Parenthood of Alabama AL
Planned Parenthood of Pasadena CA
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains CO, MO, NM, NV, WY
Planned Parenthood of Connecticut CT
Planned Parenthood of Delaware DE
Planned Parenthood of Collier County (Naples) FL
Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando FL
Planned Parenthood of Greater Miami, Palm Beach & Treasure Coast FL
Planned Parenthood of South Palm Beach and Broward County FL
Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida (Sarasota)FL
Planned Parenthood of Georgia GA
Planned Parenthood of East Central Iowa (Cedar Rapids) IA
Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa (Des Moines IA
Planned Parenthood of Decatur IL
Planned Parenthood of East Central Illinois (Champaign) IL
Planned Parenthood Springfield Area (Springfield) IL
Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri KS, MO
Planned Parenthood of Louisville KY
Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts MA
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England ME, NH, VT
Planned Parenthood Mid-Michigan Alliance (Ann Arbor) MI
Planned Parenthood of East Central Michigan (Flint) MI
Planned Parenthood of South Central Michigan (Kalamazoo) MI
Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region MO
Tri-Rivers Planned Parenthood (Rolla) MO
Planned Parenthood of Montana (Billings) MT
Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina (Chapel Hill) NC
Planned Parenthood of Central New Jersey (Shrewsbury)NJ
Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey (Newark) NJ
Planned Parenthood of Southern New Jersey (Camden) NJ
Planned Parenthood of New Mexico (Albuquerque) NM
Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic (Hawthorne) NY
Planned Parenthood of Nassau County (Hempstead) NY
Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hudson Valley (Poughkeepsie) NY
Planned Parenthood of the Rochester/Syracuse Region NY
Planned Parenthood of Western New York NY
Planned Parenthood of Stark County (Canton) OH
Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma (Oklahoma City) OK
Planned Parenthood of the Columbia/Willamette OR
Planned Parenthood Association of Bucks County (Warminster) PA
Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) PA
Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota SD
Memphis Regional Planned Parenthood TN
Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee (Nashville) TN
Planned Parenthood Houston and Southeast Texas TX
Planned Parenthood of Central Texas (Waco) TX
Planned Parenthood of North Texas (Dallas) TX
Planned Parenthood of West Texas (Odessa) TX
Planned Parenthood Trust of San Antonio and South Central Texas TX
Mt. Baker Planned Parenthood (Bellingham) WA

And an enormous THANK YOU to Planned Parenthood for all the incredible work it does to protect our sexual health and freedom.

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Filed under public discourse, sex, sex and health, sexuality