I support transgender rights, even though I myself have never understood the conviction that one was born the wrong sex and this is a mistake which should be altered surgically. But I think this article carries those rights “a chromosome too far”, as it were:
The idea is that for transgender people, there is some bureacratic, legal, and psychological distress if their birth certificate says they were born one sex but their personal identity and/or drivers license etc. say another. Therefore, the argument goes, this distress should be eliminated by allowing them to retroactively edit their birth documents to reflect their new sex.
I say, no. No good ever comes of revisionist history. Should my wife go back and alter her birth certificate to show the new name she received when we got married? (she has, in fact, run into bureacratic difficulty when her birth name and married name don’t match, and she did not have access to the documentation proving she was married). Should I have the hospital alter my birth records to show my current height and weight, since I’m clearly not the same person I was when I was born?
You want to establish a new life as a new you and present as a person of the opposite sex? Great, go forth and do so, with or without the surgical changes to accompany that. Change your name, force the courts to allow the new sex on your drivers license, use whichever bathroom you want. But don’t go screwing around with history. That will serve only to bollix up genealogical studies, census counts, and other historical research long after your bones are turned to dust. It will also smooth the way for more convincing identity theft.
I don’t have any reason to disbelieve the assertion that birth document / current document mismatches create difficulty. So the solution is not to rewrite the past, but to fix the present. Enact laws that make it just as easy to have your current documents accepted with your new sex as it is for married people to have their current documents accepted with their new names. An employer or lawyer won’t accept the documentation, even when you have medical certificates proving that you have transitioned? That’s where the problem lies and what we have to fix.
Leave the past alone. The line must be drawn here! This far, no further!
Thoughts? Discuss amongst yourselves.