Birth certificates currently publicly record a baby’s sex as ‘male’ or ‘female’. (Envato Elements)
The American Medical Association is recommending that sex be dropped from the public part of birth certificates – and conservatives are very upset.
Designating babies as ‘male’ or ‘female’ on the public-facing part of their birth certificate “fails to recognise the medical spectrum of gender identity”, the AMA said in June 2021.
The AMA’s board of trustees report concluded that the AMA should “advocate for removal of sex as a legal designation on the public portion of birth certificates” because “assigning sex using a binary variable and placing it on the public portion of the birth certificate perpetuates a view that it is immutable”.
The sex assigned to a baby when it’s born would still be submitted to the US Standard Certificate of Live Birth for medical, public health and statistical use, AMA said.
“Historically, birth certificates have also been used to discriminate, promote racial hierarchies, and prohibit miscegenation,” the June report says. “For that reason, the race of an individual’s parents is no longer listed on the public portion of birth certificates. However, sex designation is still included on the public portion of the birth certificate, despite the potential for discrimination.”
The proposal adds that making sex markers “below the line of demarcation will not address all aspects of the inequities transgender and intersex people face, but such an effort would represent a valuable first step”.
American Medical Association proposal is ‘the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard’, conservatives say
While the AMA’s recommendation flew under the radar initially, it was spotted by Web MD and tweeted out by the medical website on 31 July.
— WebMD (@WebMD) July 31, 2021
Conservative online magazine The Federalist said that the AMA’s suggestion “[reveals] the organisation’s highly politicised motives”.
“The American Medical Association supports health care for transgender children,” said The Federalist. “For an organisation that blindly supports genital mutation on minors, it’s no surprise that they want to eliminate sex on a birth certificate.”
Right-wing commentator Ben Shapiro tweeted: “So much Sciencing™” in response to the Web MD post.
Christina Sommers, of the right-wing think-tank American Enterprise Institute, tweeted: “Another once-trusted institution has lost its mind.”
And Nikki Haley, formerly Donald Trump’s UN ambassador, said: “This is literally the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Stop the madness!”