December 12 2006

I May Look Like a Guy, But Hey--I'm a Girl!

Charlotte Allen

From my Department of No Comment: This Slate piece by Yale law professor Kenji Yoshino:

"Last week, New York City's Board of Health scuttled a proposal that would have given people more freedom to change the sex on their birth certificate. The proposed plan would have been the first in the country to permit individuals to declare a gender without making any anatomical changes.....

"As a New York Times article observed, the new law sought to reflect a better understanding of the transgender community. Many transgender individuals do not have the funds to undergo sex-reassignment surgery, which has been estimated to cost between $10,000 and $20,000. Other people cannot have surgery for health reasons. Perhaps most importantly, many do not feel they need to have surgery to redefine their gender, which they understand to be more than the sum of their physical parts....

"But the health department, surprisingly, did not anticipate the wave of practical concerns that surfaced when the plan was publicized. These included the worry that the plan would conflict with rules adopted by New York state, or possible new federal rules, concerning identification documents. Reservations were also voiced by institutions like hospitals, jails, and schools, which routinely segregate according to sex."

Yes, how would you like to be, oh, say, dying of cancer in a hospital bed, and you discovered that your "roommate" possessed some anatomical features that that looked a bit different from your own?

But mind you, the ever-so-progressive Prof. Yoshino may pay lip service to your "practical concerns," but his actual feelings are as follows:

"There is little evidence that transgender individuals present a security risk to women, while there is a great deal of evidence that transgender individuals themselves are at immense risk if they are not given accommodations. To the extent that privacy concerns rest on a fear of sexual objectification, they rely on a specious assumption of universal heterosexuality."

Translation into English: We don't care how you, the dying patient, might feel during your last hours on earth. "Transgender rights" are all about us and how we feel.

Hey, thanks, New York, for the rare show of sanity.

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