NYC issues first non-binary gender birth certificate

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

The state that fines employers, landlords, and businesses for refusing to call someone by their preferred pronouns has now issued the United States’ first non-binary gender birth certificate.

New York has modified Sara Keenan’s birth certificate to read “intersex” in the gender field line. California had previously recognized Keenan as a “non-binary” resident, so now Keenan lives with two different legal genders, depending on what state she is in.

Keenan, who was adopted, was told at 16 by doctors that she had male genetics with female genitalia, and an internal mix of reproductive organs. However, under the advice of her doctors and parents, she took female hormone replacement therapy and underwent surgical procedures to remove her male parts, despite saying she always felt more masculine. However, she believes she would have felt more comfortable with herself had she instead undergone surgeries to transition to a full male.

She lived as a female for over 30 years until she “used the Internet and a visit to an endocrinologist to confirm the truth,” Keenan told CNN. She said her identity was “intersex.”

Intersex is a term used to describe people who are born with reproductive anatomy that does not fit one gender.  Doctors estimate about 1 in 2,000, or about 0.0005%, live with a variation of this condition, according to the Intersex Society of North America.

“’Intersex’ is an identity. So there is no definition of ‘intersex.’ It will vary from one person to another,” said Dr. Eric Vilain to CNN, adding “It is not a clinical term.” He also said anyone could identify as intersex even if they do not present the “atypical genitalia.”

However, his rebranding and classification differ from that of the American Psychological Association, who state it is indeed a “medical term.” APA also says that currently most experts and individuals have begun to adopt the term “disorders of sex development,” as they feel it is “less stigmatizing.” Similarly, the previous term used, “hermaphrodite,” has been done away with as it is seen as offensive to most who have the condition.

This change will surely have many legal ramifications, as New York can now begin to issue legal birth certificates with a new third gender, as decided by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH). A similar case also involving the changing of legal documentation to include this new third gender occurred last year when another “intersex” person filed a lawsuit to have their passport read “intersex” in the gender field line.

These new changes are being hailed as a win for gender politics and the liberalism mentality of “31 genders.” (Note: this number changes, and usually goes up, every time someone feels they are some new special gender–there may be infinite at this point)

From identifying as non-binary, something only invertebrates such as snails and slugs used to do, to identifying as both genders, gender is legally changing, despite science insisting that there are only two genders.

Nonetheless, this raises questions about the future. Will there be a new bathroom for this gender? What will happen to all the previous intersex people who identify as male or female? How will intersex be defined? In other words, is the legal definition going to include anyone who identifies as “intersex” or only those who display characteristics? Can other disorders and conditions be classified as genders as well? So many questions, so little genders.


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