A Push for Gender 'X'
June 29, 2018 4:05 PM   Subscribe

For more than a century Massachusetts has required drivers to have state-issued licenses before getting behind the wheel, and for much of that time it has asked recipients to declare their gender as either male or female, M or F. Now, at the urging of a teenager from the MetroWest region, the state is considering giving motorists a third option: X.

The state Senate has overwhelmingly approved a bill that would allow for the nonbinary designation on licenses.

Similar legislation has been proposed in the House. Republican governor Charlie Baker has yet to weigh in. The registry of motor vehicles has a non-binary option in their computer system, but it has not yet been activated.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The (73 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
Beckwith, demonstrating his celebrated inability to understand words, no doubt also opposes football on the grounds that it is impolite to put your foot on someone's balls.
posted by inconstant at 4:12 PM on June 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


It’s not impolite if you’re asked nicely.

What gender has to do with driving is a mystery, though.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:16 PM on June 29, 2018 [7 favorites]


I see it as having less to do with the importance of registering one's gender before getting behind the wheel and more to do with the importance of allowing people to have an option when applying for their officially-recognized and semi-mandatory ID that doesn't erase a substantial part of their identity.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:19 PM on June 29, 2018 [10 favorites]


Gender has nothing to do with driving, but if the driver's license states a gender, it's important that it match the person's actual gender. There have been many incidents of trans people getting harassed or assaulted by police, or housed with prisoners of their birth gender in jail, because the indicator on their license didn't match a cop's opinion of what their gender was.
posted by Lexica at 4:23 PM on June 29, 2018 [22 favorites]


Like, if I went to apply for a driver's license and I was required to mark down my gender but the only option available was "Female," I'd be kind of "what the fuck, what I am I supposed to do with this?" And it would be extra unfun to be officially misgendered in front of every cop, bartender, TSA agent, and whoever else I encountered who needed to see my ID.

Also, I don't think this is perfect. Having one option for men, one for women, and one for everyone else where "everyone else" includes a whole multitude of possibilities, many quite different from each other, is obviously not ideal. It's a step in the right direction, though? I dunno, I'll leave it to others to dig into that if they want, it's just my personal take.

Will back off and give things a chance to breathe now.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:24 PM on June 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


My point is, why do we record gender at all on forms? Why does the DMV need that info, and, unless there is a really good answer, delete the field. Outside of some Very specific medical records, a gender question is irrelevant and unnecessary.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:28 PM on June 29, 2018 [12 favorites]


Ontario went with the third option of X:

Starting on May 1, 2017:
  • gender identity will be the default information we collect, use, retain and display on government forms and IDs
  • sex will only be collected and used when it is required to deliver, monitor or improve the product or service
  • Ontario government ministries must tell you why they are collecting the information and how it will be used
  • when gender identity information is displayed on an ID, customers will have the option to choose
    • male ‘M’
    • female ‘F’, or
    • ‘X’ which includes Trans, Non-Binary, Two-Spirit, and Binary people and people who don’t want to disclose their gender identity
By introducing this new policy our goal is to reduce the risk of trans and non-binary people facing harassment or discrimination because their ID is not consistent with their gender identity


Also:

How to change your sex designation

To change the sex designation on your driver’s licence to an 'X', visit a ServiceOntario centre. You do not have to bring any supporting documents.


But then there's the issue of what the cops do when they look at an ID - tl;dr: it still doesn't solve that problem. Also, if option "X" covers a list, why not allow that list as a series of options?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:41 PM on June 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


Also, if option "X" covers a list, why not allow that list as a series of options?

Because they can make you a target? As can “X” unless a fair number of cis people choose “not to disclose,” which I am doing more and more on surveys, in an effort to normalize the response.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:58 PM on June 29, 2018 [18 favorites]


What gender has to do with driving is a mystery, though.

Not to your insurance company. Young men absolutely suck at driving. That has nothing to do with this though.
posted by klanawa at 5:13 PM on June 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


Also, if option "X" covers a list, why not allow that list as a series of options?

Because the purpose of an ID document is to verify you are who you claim to be, and gender identity is irrelevant for that purpose.
posted by shponglespore at 5:16 PM on June 29, 2018


What gender has to do with driving is a mystery, though.

It’s for the cops to know which part of the jail to put you in.
posted by nikaspark at 5:28 PM on June 29, 2018 [14 favorites]


Young men absolutely suck at driving

HEY! HOLD ON...wait, when I was young, I resembled that remark. Carry on.

Seriously though, I fly about once a year, and when I bought tickets a few days ago, I was surprised that the ptions still were only "male" and "female." I guess it must be tied to the options available on drivers licenses. I am so sorry people still have to deal with this. Hopefully Massachusetts is leading the way to something better.
posted by 4ster at 6:13 PM on June 29, 2018


IDNYC also offers the option of "not designated."
posted by praemunire at 6:16 PM on June 29, 2018


Because the purpose of an ID document is to verify you are who you claim to be, and gender identity is irrelevant for that purpose.

So if it's really meant to be "sex" and not gender identity, what is the standard of verification? There is no answer to this question which is not problematic.
posted by Foosnark at 6:25 PM on June 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


How about no gender markers on ID at all.

I really do ponder why they are necessary.
posted by nikaspark at 6:31 PM on June 29, 2018 [10 favorites]


Also, if option "X" covers a list, why not allow that list as a series of options?

Because adding several options to an already-complicated form for a tiny percentage of the population is not a good use of resources, including the time-and-energy resources of the people filling out and applying the forms. If there's a good reason for it, that extra hassle might be justified; currently, I believe not-M not-F people are a small enough group that an option that means "just ask" is sufficient.

As to why there's a gender at all: because we live in a strongly gendered society, and one's legal ID serves both as info that can help find you in case you're either lost or accused of wrongdoing (gender-based assumptions about habits and clothing aren't guaranteed, but they're accurate for most people), and helps answer the question, "how should they provide assistance, if they find you unconscious?"

We're a long way from not providing gender ID info on any kind of official paperwork, and I suspect that most of the country prefers it that way. Some of that is toxic gender essentialism, but some is personal identity: they want their ID to contain basic "who I am" info, and that info includes gender.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 7:36 PM on June 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


I mean, it’s really kind of hard to read your comment and get past that extra hassle might be justified

I’m sorry my gender being weird is a hassle to cis people.
posted by nikaspark at 8:06 PM on June 29, 2018 [22 favorites]


helps answer the question, "how should they provide assistance, if they find you unconscious?"

That just seems silly for a number of reasons. One, many of the causes of unconsciousness won't vary by your gender. If you're blacked out drunk or bleeding from the head, your gender doesn't much matter. Two, call the damn EMTs, who also won't be looking at your ID. Because Three, they can look at your body and very likely guess, and if your genitalia somehow matters, they can look.

I'm no medical expert, but I kinda think if we're getting into the sort of things where one's biology impacts how they treat you, they're probably doing some tests and measurements, and not looking at a letter on your driver's license.
posted by explosion at 8:20 PM on June 29, 2018 [12 favorites]


...the purpose of an ID document is to verify you are who you claim to be, and gender identity is irrelevant for that purpose.

My sister-in-law's license is a ten year issue. Good thing she's about ready to renew it. It identifies her as brown eyes, brunette, and 125lbs. She dyes her hair blond, wears colored contacts, and has gained about 45lbs. If it wasn't for the F marked in the box you'd never know who it was.
posted by BlueHorse at 8:45 PM on June 29, 2018 [8 favorites]


eXcelsior!
posted by sexyrobot at 8:54 PM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


helps answer the question, "how should they provide assistance, if they find you unconscious?"

Despite the existence of gendered medical products like bandaids and q-tips, it is not necessary for medical equipment and supplies to be colored blue or pink.
posted by daybeforetheday at 9:19 PM on June 29, 2018 [13 favorites]


X representing a non-binary catch-all reminds me of a Fabulous Child's Story. And wow, this year is its fortieth anniversary.
posted by BiggerJ at 9:54 PM on June 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


I would think that the goal of the gender descriptor on ID should be to confirm typical gender presentation. Your ID is supposed to (theoretically) provide a brief visual description of you - height, weight, etc. I think that’s the goal of including gender here - do you present as male, female, or does your gender presentation not fall into either of those two categories in a way that is helpful for visual identification?

I apologize in advance if my statements are offensive. My sister is trans; I plan to discuss this with her and want to do so in a loving way. For her, I feel she will always choose “Female” even if given the choice of “X,” but I know others would not and would be happy to have the “X” option. And maybe I’m wrong and she would choose X! I’m genuinely just thinking about why gender is included on ID and this is what comes to mind - ease of visual identification.
posted by samthemander at 10:10 PM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


4ster I fly about once a year, and when I bought tickets a few days ago, I was surprised that the ptions still were only "male" and "female."

Whenever I see that, I get a little voice screaming in my head THERE ARE COUNTRIES WHERE YOU CAN GET X IN YOUR PASSPORT, NOW WHAT.

I'm watching the progress on alternative gender recognition out of personal interest, but the sad truth is that if it was introduced in my country I would not apply for it, unless it was on EU level or something. Because I can imagine international travel would SUCK. I would love to read about the experiences of X-gender passport holders traveling around the world, but I haven't seen anything of that sort – but I can guess it's not pleasant, from the aforementioned ticket buying to clearing immigration in a country that does not have a field for you in their computer system.
posted by Vesihiisi at 10:54 PM on June 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


‘X’ which includes Trans

Oops, Ontario, you fucked up already, four words in.

If you're not letting trans women put F, and trans men put M, and forcing them to out themselves on their IDs by putting an X and reserving those designations only for cisgendered men and women, congrats on your transphobic legislation, and congrats further on passing something transphobic under the pretense of being progressive.
posted by kafziel at 11:10 PM on June 29, 2018 [15 favorites]


It does say "customers will have the option to choose ... [M F X]"
posted by taz at 12:10 AM on June 30, 2018 [10 favorites]


I'm curious as to why reporter Steve LeBlanc from AP felt compelled to provide a platform for a spokesman from an anti-gay hate group in his brief article.
posted by Umami Dearest at 12:17 AM on June 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


The M, F, X designation makes sense in a general way, but one medical issue that could complicate how an unconscious on incoherent person is treated is pregnancy.
Off hand, I can't recall if the driver's license routinely mentions medical issues other than wearing corrective lenses. Looking online about the driving restriction codes in Oklahoma, the list includes requirements such as having fruit or candy near the driver, and adequate artificial limbs, plus "detailed restriction" and "medical variance."
posted by TrishaU at 12:32 AM on June 30, 2018


Despite the existence of gendered medical products like bandaids and q-tips, it is not necessary for medical equipment and supplies to be colored blue or pink.

True, but despite everyone's protestations, I'd like to have a document that medical professionals can use to determine which ward to put me on. That depends on gender.


The M, F, X designation makes sense in a general way, but one medical issue that could complicate how an unconscious on incoherent person is treated is pregnancy.

Unless you're planning on having IDs reissued every few days (with the results of a pregnancy test) then ID won't help you there, since people of all genders can get pregnant (try googling for "trans man pregnant" if you want proof in the form of a bunch of offensively sensationalist articles).
posted by Dysk at 2:14 AM on June 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


(Also as a badly passing trans woman, I can't stress how useful it it to have official ID with a gender field. It means that if I need to prove my legitimacy in accessing, say, a women's bathroom, I can. Remove that field and I have no way of definitively shutting down someone trying to throw me out.)
posted by Dysk at 2:17 AM on June 30, 2018 [14 favorites]


With they be changing the language on the IDs from "sex" to "gender"?
posted by yonega at 2:23 AM on June 30, 2018


As a medico, the gender marker on a driver's license is irrelevant. If I need to know, you'll tell me. If you're unconscious and we need to know, we'll check. The license is not helpful.
posted by chiquitita at 2:52 AM on June 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


As soon as you could change gender on locenses it stopped being a medically relevant piece of information instantly for everyone.
posted by chiquitita at 2:56 AM on June 30, 2018


If you're unconscious and we need to know, we'll check.

Check how?


As soon as you could change gender on locenses it stopped being a medically relevant piece of information instantly for everyone.

They don't put people on the ward that matches their gender in your locale? Maybe it's not relevant medically per se, but it certainly is relevant to a lot of medical staff when deciding whether to put you in a bed on the men's ward or the women's ward or what.
posted by Dysk at 2:59 AM on June 30, 2018


Hospitals are not gendered in that way in any place I've ever experienced, US male, 51 years old.

Why the hell would that ever be necessary either?
posted by yesster at 3:07 AM on June 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


"Check how"?

By looking under the gown?
posted by yesster at 3:08 AM on June 30, 2018


This discussion strikes me a little bit like how some members of the LGBT community were appalled that same-sex marriage became a priority because everyone was supposed to be overthrowing marriage as an institution. The institution making room to accommodate you ended up being more attractive than burning everything down and starting fresh.

I mean admittedly we've moved onto 'how exactly are medical professionals dealing with the intersection of sex and gender' now
posted by Merus at 3:08 AM on June 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


Hospitals are not gendered in that way in any place I've ever experienced, US male, 51 years old.

Why the hell would that ever be necessary either?


In Britain, they sure are. We don't tend to end up with individual rooms, and people tend to prefer to be in a room with other people of the same gender. Same reason we have gendered public toilets and changing rooms, I suppose.

"Check how"?

By looking under the gown?


That's going to tell you someone's genital status, and not necessarily much else. Are they a cis person? A trans person who had GRS with a very good surgeon?
posted by Dysk at 3:10 AM on June 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


There is a pretty decent amount of transphobia on display in this thread, and it's pretty disappointing.
posted by Dysk at 3:23 AM on June 30, 2018 [15 favorites]


I think some of the confusion here may be stemming from the fact that it's not super clear whether the driver's license is supposed to indicate sex or gender. My Massachusetts ID certainly says "Sex: M" on it, but I could change that to F if I wanted without changing anything about my body, and adding the X option seems to make it pretty obvious that the field is being used for gender identity even if it says it's being used for sex. And then some of the arguments above describe that field as indicating gender presentation, which is yet another thing but is probably the way that the field is actually used in most cases by officials.

So it's going to continue being kind of a clusterfuck, because the ID is using a single field to indicate sex, gender identity, and gender presentation all at the same time, and those three things don't necessarily match up. It's not at all clear what you're supposed to do if you're an androgynously-presenting woman with a penis for instance—even with the X option, there's still no clear choice for you. I'd venture that you should probably just put down whichever you feel most comfortable with, but then what if you get an asshole cop who disagrees with your choice? It's a mess.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:28 AM on June 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


And anyway, while I am becoming increasingly convinced by the arguments that it might be best to just leave this stuff off the ID entirely, if we are going to require this for IDs it seems important to me that people be able to represent themselves accurately. It's pretty shitty to be faced with a situation in which your government is literally incapable of recognizing your existence.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:32 AM on June 30, 2018 [6 favorites]


I mean rather than a ternary choice between three single-letter designations, we ought to have three free-form text fields: one for sex, one for gender, and one for presentation. At which point the whole "why the hell does my ID even need to have this info?" argument starts looking pretty strong.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:40 AM on June 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


Personally, I see the sex/gender dichotomy as kind of bullshit, and yet another way to insist that trans women are really men, and trans men are really women. A driving license is not your medical records anyway.
posted by Dysk at 3:49 AM on June 30, 2018 [11 favorites]


Well, yeah. Even as I was writing the above, I realized that there was a level on which it was still problematic. I don't know a better way of getting at the concept I was trying to describe, but I wish I did. I'm willing to accept that the concept itself is a problem, but unfortunately it still seems relevant in this context even if it's sucky.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:57 AM on June 30, 2018


Relevant in the sense of "what does the state want to know about me and why," not the sense of "it's relevant whether a man has a penis or a vagina."
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:58 AM on June 30, 2018



Relevant in the sense of "what does the state want to know about me and why," not the sense of "it's relevant whether a man has a penis or a vagina."


Exactly! Every supposed reason for having sex/gender on your government-issued ID is better addressed in other ways.

Does a hospital need to know your gender/sex for some reasons? Sure, why not. But that doesn't mean it has to be on your government-issued ID. It can be documented elsewhere.
posted by yesster at 4:02 AM on June 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


Literally the only reason I can think of is "so the police don't have to ask you which cell they should lock you up in," and that's creepy.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:08 AM on June 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


Does a hospital need to know your gender/sex for some reasons? Sure, why not. But that doesn't mean it has to be on your government-issued ID. It can be documented elsewhere.

This becomes a problem if you're travelling, though. I guess that's more for passports than driving licences, but you can easily end up in an emergency medical situation where you aren't able to communicate and the hospital dealing with you do not have immediate access to formal medical records. That is where having the information is useful.

(And again, as a trans person who does not routinely pass, it is incredibly useful to have gender on ID - it allows me to legitimise my claim to gendered spaces when called on to do so. It sucks that that is necessary, and in an ideal world people wouldn't have to prove their gender bona fides, but in the world we have it is indispensable.)
posted by Dysk at 4:14 AM on June 30, 2018 [10 favorites]


It super double sucks that that's necessary.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:19 AM on June 30, 2018


I'm sorry Dysk, I have been talking past that legitimate need of yours.

I've been strongly against pointless gendering of spaces/places for a long time. I still don't get it. I mean, I get it in the sense of understanding history and all. I just don't understand the current utility at all. Not self-created spaces/places, just institutionally-created spaces.

As you say, "but in the world we have."
posted by yesster at 4:31 AM on June 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


Yeah, living in the world forces all kinds of compromises from my luxury gay space communist utopia too. It sucks.

I'd also suggest that if you are in danger of being put in the wrong part of the jail, you're probably not angry at your license having information about where you should be put. I'm not, anyway. I don't necessarily trust that the police would heed it, but it's a damn sight better than them having a good excuse for getting it wrong.
posted by Dysk at 5:05 AM on June 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


The more I think about it and after reading Dysk’s excellent points I think it should be fully optional as M F X or none. In my personal experiences having F on my license hasn’t stopped people from being shitty to me and when I’ve had to slap the fucker down people have typically said bullshit like “that was a nice judge” but in the event that authorities are required by laws (which don’t exist evenly in the United States) to place you in the right facility based on gender marker then they should absolutely be there in order to protect as many people as possible.

My gender marker in most of the the US means fuck all in the critical moments where it should be respected, but in places where it does have meaning, I can see how it’s a much bigger deal.
posted by nikaspark at 5:07 AM on June 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


On reflection, that must be its own special hell for trans men. As a trans woman, it's pretty clear I'd much rather avoid the men's prison, where there would be a serious risk of (sexual) violence. That risk would still be there for a lot of trans men.
posted by Dysk at 5:09 AM on June 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


When everyone chooses X then the irrelevancey of gender as a category for ID will be realized.
posted by JJ86 at 5:58 AM on June 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


Yeah, to address it more personally, even if there was an "X" marker, I don't feel like the current environment is one where I can safely put a big old 'THIS PERSON IS NOT CISGENDER' target on my official ID, especially given the horror stories about emergency responders deliberately inflicting cruelty on trans people who are unable to defend themselves. It's a tiny step in the right direction, in terms of recognizing that the M/F binary is factually inadequate, but the practical usability of the X option is going to have.... uneven distribution, let's say.
posted by inconstant at 6:48 AM on June 30, 2018


Oregon, DC, California, and Maine are already doing this, aren't they?
posted by elsietheeel at 7:49 AM on June 30, 2018


Re: institutional gendered spaces: I get it in the sense of understanding history and all. I just don't understand the current utility at all.

Until we have a culture where men are not given a free pass to harass women, especially women who are dressed attractively for a date, women's bathrooms are an essential safety feature. Making all public bathrooms non-gendered would increase assaults on women who couldn't get away from That Creepy Guy At The Bar. We have to remove the tolerance for rapists, molesters, and angry guys who like to punch women who tell them "no," before we can remove the defense mechanisms.

I'm pretty sure that gender on an ID card is a holdover from a time when men and women had substantially different legal rights. Women didn't have the right to their own bank accounts until the mid-70s--someone with "F" on her driver's license wasn't going to be buying a new car on her own, nor was she likely to pay her own hospital bill. It was also a key factor in ID - photos weren't added to all states' licenses until the 80s, and several states still have exemptions from photo requirements.

Gender doesn't guarantee appearance, but neither does hair color; it's useful in the majority of situations where someone's trying to narrow down a group of people by traits listed on a card, or check whether the card refers to the person who's holding it. The fact that it's spectacularly bad in some cases, is why we need more options. I am not sure those situations are improved by having 12 or more options instead of 3.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:58 AM on June 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


I am not sure those situations are improved by having 12 or more options instead of 3.

I think the communities of people that are actually affected have more of a say than cis people do and I myself being in the affected community of people, I would like people to center these communities specifically and ask them what they want as opposed to assuming that three is enough.
posted by nikaspark at 10:26 AM on June 30, 2018 [6 favorites]


and helps answer the question, "how should they provide assistance, if they find you unconscious?"

Why don't we have our blood type on our driver's license?

If you aren't a medical professional, you might think that would be useful medical information to have on an ID. But it's not. It's a terrible idea, which is why we don't do it.

It's important to have correct medical information, because a transfusion of the wrong type will kill you. It's too important to have on your driver's license, because your driver's license could be wrong and no EMT or doctor will believe it anyway. Doctors run a blood test type before doing a transfusion even when they have medical records documenting the blood type. They don't necessarily trust their own records, it's that important.

So, if you want to use the "what if you're unconscious and in an emergency" excuse for why we should have the, uh, "correct" gender on driver's licenses, I'd like to hear what specific medical emergency would actially ever require that.

Because it sounds like something people not trained in medicine would say.
posted by AlSweigart at 11:13 AM on June 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


I guess you could call that a medical reason, but it's not really, it's about how you're treated while receiving medical care.
posted by Dysk at 11:33 AM on June 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


Mod note: One deleted; let's do this without "maybe YOU don't give a shit" stuff.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:51 AM on June 30, 2018


A little background on "X":

I believe this was somewhere in the aftermath of WWII, and X was intended to be used for "we don't know because there's a refugee crisis and we need to issue passports faster than we can verify everyone's gender". That got codified into the official international standard for passports later on, which means that every country that follows international standards in this matter should have systems that can accept "X" as a valid gender already. Since "start issuing documents with the already technically valid X" is an easier lift than "rewrite the international standard to remove sex or make it free-form or something, and then update everyone's software", well, that's why we're getting X.

If/when this comes to Washington, I'm going to have to have to think pretty seriously about it. I want it, but like everyone's said, yeah, scary times.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:39 PM on June 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


Does X really carry any actionable meaning though? I would rather lobby for a new international code system that provides instructions of gender-based preferences and particulars of medical care that are not based on determining a shorthand for gender then just assuming a bunch of stuff.

Like, if you find me unconscious you don’t have to perform a pregnancy test on me because for as much as I wish could carry a child it sure ain’t happening in my lifetime for me. And also my vag does not work like a cis vag and if something is wrong down there doctors need to know that I had GRS. so yeah, gender markers don’t convey too much specificity and a code-based system could convey that without needing to rely on shorthand that while works for many, completely leaves out quite a decent few.

So yeah, if “X” is some hold over for “I don’t know” and it doesn’t convey anything meaningful then I’m wary of it. I’d rather have the option for no gender marker myself.
posted by nikaspark at 12:47 PM on June 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


On a passport, X officially means "unspecified", I think. On other documents the official meaning will probably vary by jurisdiction.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 1:25 PM on June 30, 2018


So yeah, actionable meaning is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by vibratory manner of working at 1:26 PM on June 30, 2018


Meanwhile people can feel good by doing the least amount possible towards actually making the world more inclusive for trans and non binary people.

I guess I should just be happy that that we’re even talking about something other than M or F so I’ll pipe down about it. you’d have thought I’d have learned by now.
posted by nikaspark at 1:29 PM on June 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


Medical emergency comes up because it's a situation where you cannot easily advocate for yourself. It is not, as detailed upthread, about the information being needed medically per see, but a case of how medical staff arrange your care. Waking up in a men's ward after an accident is not going to be pleasant for a lot of people with an F on their documentation, and emotional well-being has measurable and significant impacts on healing and discharge times.
posted by Dysk at 1:43 PM on June 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


WHY DO DRIVERS LICENSES INCLUDE GENDER AT ALL????!!!!##%@&!!
posted by latkes at 8:32 PM on June 30, 2018


OK, I just read the thread and I see how the gender on an ID has been very useful for some folks. I'm a gender non-conforming person who gets called out in bathrooms, but I have a very different set of experiences as an assigned female masculine appearing person than trans women do, so I hear that. Thanks for sharing it.

I do think though that the few categories we identify human's by at birth and on the ID: basically race and sex, are both culturally determined categories, and having these categories reinforced on the daily on government documents also has negative impacts on individuals and culturally.
posted by latkes at 8:38 PM on June 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


On reflection, that must be its own special hell for trans men. As a trans woman, it's pretty clear I'd much rather avoid the men's prison, where there would be a serious risk of (sexual) violence. That risk would still be there for a lot of trans men.

I’m a trans man, my license says M (which I am happy with), and if I’m ever arrested you’d better believe I’ll be announcing my genitalia to anyone within earshot. I gave this a LOT of thought before I engaged in civil disobedience. Local law enforcement policy is to divide prisoners by genitalia, and pre/non-op trans women get solitary (I didn’t say it was a good policy).
posted by AFABulous at 10:23 PM on June 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


I just want to apologise for my comments earlier. I didn't realise the importance of gender markers for transgender and nonbinary people in a medical situation.
posted by daybeforetheday at 1:06 AM on July 2, 2018 [2 favorites]


Here's the thing about that X. And I'd love to hear Ontarians who actually know, maybe someone who's done it offer an answer, rather than a guess about what they hope is the case.

As a trans woman, if I were in Ontario, could I put an F? Or since X is for trans, according to the website, would I be stuck with that? I see some stuff there that suggests it might be possible, IF you were born in Ontario AND currently live in Ontario AND have the supporting information from an Ontario-licensed medical practitioner treating you in order to change your Ontario-issued birth certificate first, so yay for a fuckload of expensive gatekeeping first.

Because that X would be outing me to every cop, every bartender, everyone who ever sees it. Cis people jumping on it for solidarity to try to obscure the meaning doesn't actually change a thing about it. You can argue about whether or not the field should be on there or not all you want, but it is, and wherever I am, I need to be able to put an F.
posted by kafziel at 11:08 AM on July 2, 2018 [4 favorites]


I'm trans and live in Ontario, and have the X gender marker on my drivers' license, and am just going through the process of having it switched on my birth certificate, an option they added more recently.

Trans people can totally still get an M or and F if they prefer as well, plenty of people I know have gone through that process.

There's more gatekeeping (medical letter required) for changing the gender marker on your birth certificate. A medical letter is required whether you're changing it to M, F, or X. For the driver's license, you just have to go to ServiceOntario (our DMV equivalent) and ask for it.
posted by ITheCosmos at 5:00 AM on July 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


« Older “I came in like a...”   |   The Letter Carrier Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments