Why do we make such a big deal out of a baby’s gender?

A story about an eight month old baby in Canada has caught the world’s attention today. The infant has been issued a health card without its gender being documented, potentially a world first.

Kori Doty, a transgender person who identifies a neither male or female, wants their child to be able to identify their own gender as they grow up.

The child, Searyl Atli, has been issued a health card with their gender marked as ‘U’ which could stand for ‘undetermined’ or ‘unassigned’. Doty, would also like the child’s birth certificate not to have any gender identification.

Of course there will be the predictable complaints from conservative religious voices, but why do we need to label genders in society?

Countless studies have shown women are disadvantaged in the workplace, often receiving lower salaries and educational opportunities. Wouldn’t the world be better if we just removed the categorisation?

A friend recently commented that they thought it would be great if there was a service where you could accept resumes for jobs where all biographical and gender information was stripped away, so the people hiring were not influenced by gender, ethnicity or age of the applicants. Maybe it would be great if we just didn’t feel compelled to provide all that information in the first place.

Transgender people have to go through massive layers of bureaucracy to get their official documents changed to the gender that they identify with, wouldn’t it be easier if we just didn’t record most of the information in the first place.

You could argue that government’s need to know gender information so to make sure they build the right facilities in the right places, but in reality shouldn’t we just be building facilities for everyone?

When we travel overseas we have to supply photographs and fingerprints, and the Australian Taxation Office keeps voice records to help identify us. How relevant is a declaration of male or female identification in our high tech world?

What do you think? 

Graeme Watson

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