WebMD: AMA says remove sex from birth certificates

The American Medical Association (AMA) said Monday that sex should be removed as a legal designation on the public part of birth certificates, reports WedMd.

The AMA claims t can lead to discrimination and unnecessary burden on individuals whose current gender identity does not align with their designation at birth, particularly if and when they register for school or sports, adopt, get married, or request personal records.

Willie Underwood III, MD, author of Board Report 15, explained that a standard certificate of live birth is critical for uniformly collecting and processing data, but the government issues birth certificates to individuals.

“Assigning sex using binary variables in the public portion of the birth certificate fails to recognize the medical spectrum of gender identity,” Underwood said, and can be used to discriminate.

Jeremy Toler, MD, a delegate from GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality said transgender, gender nonbinary, and individuals with differences in sex development can be placed at a disadvantage by the sex label on the birth certificate.

“We unfortunately still live in a world where it is unsafe in many cases for one’s gender to vary from the sex assigned at birth,” Toler said.

“We as physicians need to report things accurately,” Robert Jackson, MD, an alternate delegate from the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery countered. “All through medical school, residency, and specialty training we were supposed to delegate all of the physical findings of the patient we’re taking care of. I think when the child is born, they do have physical characteristics either male or female and I think that probably should be on the public record. That’s just my personal opinion.”

Sarah Mae Smith, MD, delegate from California, speaking on behalf of the Women Physicians Section, said removing the sex designation is important for moving toward gender equity.

“We need to recognize gender is not a binary but a spectrum,” she said. “Obligating our patients to jump through numerous administrative hoops to identify as who they are based on a sex assigned at birth primarily on genitalia is not only unnecessary but actively deleterious to their health.”

Sex no longer has a role to play in the jobs people do, she noted, and the designation shouldn’t have to be evaluated for something like a job interview, she said.

“Our society doesn’t need it on an individual basis for most of what occurs in public life,” Seid said.

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