Tuesday, November 07, 2006

NYC Debates Change in Approach to Transgender Rights

The New York Times has an interesting article today about a proposal to alter the city's regulation of birth certificates. Under the proposal being considered by the city’s Board of Health, people born in the city would be able to change the documented sex on their birth certificates by providing affidavits from a doctor and a mental health professional that explain why their patients should be considered members of the opposite sex, and affirming that the proposed gender identity change is permanent. Under the proposed change, whether an individual has had surgery or used medication as part of changing gender identities would be irrelevant -- the primary criterion would be what gender an individual self-identifies as.

The article raises questions as to what would happen if the proposal is adopted (which is predicted to be likely): for example, would people who were born as women, but who changed their gender identity, be eligible to play sports on men's teams? The Times doesn't answer this question (although it seems like the answer would be "yes"), but it certainly raises some interesting issues as to gender constructs and Title IX's allowance for single-sex contact sports. After all, where Title IX would not mandate that a boy be able to play field hockey (a contact sport) on an all-girls' team, even if there's no boys' team to play on, under the proposed rule, a person born as a boy, but who self-identifies as a girl, would likely be able to play on the girls' team.

1 comment:

EBuz said...

I wonder if the IOC's new policy will provide a model for intercollegiate sports. Transsexual athletes may now compete in Olympic games in the category other than their sex at birth, so long as those athletes have had surgey >2 years prior to the Olympic competition, are taking hormones, and have gone through a legal recognition of their self-identified gender. The policy does not distinguish between contact and non-contact sports.