Aug 232010
 

A lot of people have been posting and re-posting and discussing this Newsweek article, which talks about a person in Australia, who was the first person in that country, if not in the world, to be issues a certificate without either an F or M for their sex (sometimes referred to as gender, which is usually an incorrect statement, as sex often does not line up with gender). Of course, as in many things surrounding queer issues in government, this huge milestone was then taken back a few days later, as the government decided that this was just not ok.

Why does the M or F on our birth certificates, IDs, etc matter so much? Presentation of gender is a huge spectrum, an explosion of gender even, and when we require that M or F, not only are we stifling people who do not identify in such a binary, but what are we achieving?

For example, I know many people with an F on the ID who present in a gender queer, or even stereotypical masculine way. Now not only does this F hurt them as they have to get their ID checked every damn time they use a credit card, and get heckled at the airport or when they get pulled over, but what purpose does the F serve? I mean, let’s say we’re looking for a criminal, and all we have to go on is that they have an F on their ID. What does that even mean? Given the diversity of gender presentation, how does that help us to find someone?

Now, I don’t think we should get rid of gender as a society. Many people have done much exploration of their gender identity; find someone who identifies as a faggy boi, or a stone butch, or a high femme, and get in a conversation with them about their gender. Talk about how they discovered it, why it is important to them, how it fits in with their other identities. Gender can be an important part of who we are.

However, the M or F on our IDs and certificates is not our gender. It has only to do with the genitals we had at birth, and the SEX (not gender) that the doctor assigned us given what we had. It doesn’t take into account our identities, our presentations, etc.

So I don’t propose life without gender. I LOVE my gender and its complexities. I love my partner’s gender. I love reading about gender, and talking about gender. I love gender. But I do suggest the removal of sex from IDs, as I see no reason for it to exist, and so many reasons for it not to.

-Shanna