Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Freedom of Choice?

I don’t know if everyone already saw this article, or if it’s already been thoroughly blogged about (I only read a select few blogs), so if this is repetitive, I apologize.

Yesterday, the NY Times reported that "New York Plans to Make Gender Personal Choice." I found this article so preposterous that it would almost be funny—if not for the fact that it is real. Instead, I would have to describe it as extremely scary.

Basically, the city’s Board of Health is considering implementing a rule that states that a person may change the gender documented on his/her/its birth certificate if he/she/it has statements from a doctor and a mental health professional supporting a gender switch. The person will have to have lived in the proposed gender for two years, but the rule gives no specific medical requirements. In other words, you would be able to change the sex on your birth certificate even if you still had all the biological traits of your birth gender!

According to the NY Times:
“The change would lead to many intriguing questions: For example, 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? (Not without a court order.) Would a woman who becomes a man be able to fight in combat, or play in the National Football League? (These areas have yet to be explored.)”

Is anyone else baffled by the idea of a “freedom to choose” your gender??? This brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “pro-choice.” It just shows how the concept of individual rights, if given no boundaries, can be taken to frightening extremes. Since when is it a basic human right to select one’s gender?

I am appalled by the depths to which our culture has sunk even to be taking such a thing seriously. Not only are we prepared to allow people to live their lives as a member of a different gender than the one in which God created them, but we are actually prepared to totally eliminate all trace of the fact that God “chose” a different sex for them than they did. Frankly, the whole thing seems slightly delusional. Secular people will label religious believers as closed-minded and willfully self-deceptive for attempting to reconcile science with religious dogma, yet some of the same people are prepared to accept this total denial of biological reality. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

“Joann Prinzivalli, 52, a lawyer for the New York Transgender Rights Organization, a man who has lived as a woman since 2000, without surgery, said, ‘It’s based on an arbitrary distinction that says there are two and only two sexes. In reality the diversity of nature is such that there are more than just two, and people who seem to belong to one of the designated sexes may really belong to the other.”

Really? That's news to me!
I’m sorry, but this seems simply bizarre!


Anonymous said...

"I believe in an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out." --Arthur Hays Sulzberger

I'm sorry Ms. Man. If you hold up five fingers and insist that there are six, that is not true, no matter how sad that may make your fingers.


"The Metropolitan Transportation Authority also agreed last month to let people define their own gender when deciding whether to use the men’s or women’s bathrooms."

Need I say more? Other than I now REALLY don't ever ever want to use a public bathroom in NY state.
Imagine the scene:
"Um, excuse me sir, I think you're--"
Why no! How dare you address the person as sir? Do you know how hurtful, how psychologically damaging, that could be? And now you want to drive out the kind woman from her bathroom just because she doesn't look like the picture on the door?! How bigoted! How prejudiced! How cruel to put your own comfort level above that of your fellow person!

Though actually, just to look at a living creature and brand them person... That might be a bit hasty. Perhaps they feel like they're really a gazelle? Perhaps their birth certificate certifies that they are indeed a gazelle?
Really, we all need to be a little more open minded.


jackie said...

Hear, hear!

Moshe said...

That's just scary.

Kiwi the Geek said...

With this proposal, NY would be imposing the decision on the rest of the country. The birth certificate would be changed, without record of historical truth, and the person could then claim their chosen gender all over the country, observable facts notwithstanding. And presumably, transgendered people or gazelles could come from anywhere in the country to get their birth certificate changed, then go home and force the populace to accept it.

kasamba said...

Oh my!
It's going to make choosing restrooms very difficult.

Anonymous said...

I dunno, Kiwi. Have you ever tried to get a hold of documents, let alone change them? Governments (city, state, etc) tend to be veeery careful about only servicing their legal residents.

Anonymous said...

I am the Joann Prinzivalli who was mischaracterized by the Times writer as a "man" and also by the first anonymous post.

So, Anon, if I hold up four fingers and a thumb, that is a fact.

If I have a brain that developed as female, and genitals that developed as male, what sex am I? The sex of my brain or the sex of my genitals? If I have to be one or the other, I think it should be the sex of my brain, as it also matches my soul. And that, too, is a fact.

G-d created all of us as unique individuals. In Genesis, we are all created in he image and likeness of G-d, "male and female."

One will note that it isn;t "male *or* female." In G-d's image we are all both - while most of us are a lot more one than the other, there are some created who have physical attributes that are mixed, some with ambiguous genitalia, some with brains that developed differently, but we are all children of G-d.

I would suggest going beyond Torah and rad a little Isaiah - particlarly Chapter 56. Transgendered and intersexed people are the "eunuchs" who have a special place in G-d's house.

Society recognizes only two sexes and not the diversity of nature - at least llow us to be who we really are, and not what society arbitrarily decided at out time of birth based on genital shape alone.

Anonymous said...

Hello, anonymous=Joann. I'm Anon from first post. No offense.

We seem to be involved in a debate over semantics: how is gender defined? To me, gender is purely biological. Therefore I define gender based on genitals.
I get the feeling that to you, gender is more... can we say sociological? Thus, you define it based on something in the brain. All fine and good.

[clarification: sex=bilogical, gender=sociological. I think this is a 'sex' issue, while to you it's 'gender.']

According to my definition, you would be a man who *acts* like a woman.
According to your definition of gender, you are *in fact* a woman.

"And never the twain shall meet."

We're not defining "2" in the same way, so it's not at all surprising that one of us says 2+2=4 and the other says 2+2=5.

Also, a piece of advice from an anonymous internet personality (I apologize if this sounds nasty; I mean it well): This is bound to be an emotionally-charged issue for you. Does visiting insensitive websites do any good?