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Transgendered Folks Encountering Document/Database ID Hassles 814

Posted by Soulskill
from the flipping-bits dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Most of us hear the equivalent of 'let me bring up your record' several times a week or month when dealing with businesses and government agencies; sometimes there's a problem, but clerks are accustomed to dealing with changes in street address, phone numbers, company affiliation, and even personal names (after marriage). But what about gender? Transgendered folks are encountering embarrassing moments when they have to explain that their gender has changed from 'M' to 'F' or vice versa. While there are many issues involved in discrimination against transgendered individuals, I have to confess that the first thing that came to my mind was the impact on database design and maintenance."
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Transgendered Folks Encountering Document/Database ID Hassles

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 15, 2013 @07:25PM (#44017931)

    Nothing has really changed...

  • Make it optional (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jfdavis668 (1414919) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @07:33PM (#44017991)
    Make the field optional. In addition to male and female, add both and neither. Also, review the reason you even keep that information. It may not be necessary at all.
  • Living (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 15, 2013 @07:37PM (#44018013)

    Databases are annoying, as no-one really models gender changing over time (most glaring to me in the medical industry, where I work). That said, i'd much rather see something done about the reactions of people, rather than the contents of databases. I now live 600 miles from my hometown, because I got tired of being physically attacked for being myself in public. Show me how changing a database table will turn around a truck full of beer 'buzzed' rednecks, and i'm all game.

    Anonymous, for all the wrong reasons. I'd rather post as myself, but I've learned not to be honest in public, unless I want death threats. Thanks for the 5 minutes of attention, but we've got trouble all day.

  • Re:Gov. Work (Score:3, Insightful)

    by N_Piper (940061) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @07:40PM (#44018039)
    You can't believe something that has only been able to be talked about in public for less than 15 years (legal homosexsual marage) wasn't in your lowest bidder made, god knows how old Government computer system?
    I'll admit I don't know everything about Canada but I thought cynicism to Bureaucratic BS was taught everywhere.
    I understand apologising but if that sort of oversight is actually surprising to you, well I'll just say get used to it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 15, 2013 @07:44PM (#44018065)

    Who the hell voted this up?

    The reason why it's embarrassing is because trans people are still treated like crap by a large portion of society and we'd rather not have our private lives paraded around in front of others so that we can be treated like a fucking circus exhibit. That's why.

    Besides, for most things you don't even NEED to know our gender.

  • Re:Oh no (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 15, 2013 @07:46PM (#44018079)

    I presume you'll be fine with the doctors refusing to help you when you get struck down with some rare form tropical disease then?

    A problem being suffered by a minority is still a problem.

  • Discrimination (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sincewhen (640526) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @07:50PM (#44018099)

    This illustrates how discrimination is embedded in our society. We want to know details about someone (gender) so that we can assume other things (entitlement to maternity leave, say). But this supports treating people differently. The entitlement should be that anyone who gives birth or (or perhaps adopts) a baby is entitled to the leave. No need to identify gender.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 15, 2013 @07:57PM (#44018141)

    It is not a choice. It's who someone is. A lot of people feel like they're not in either one of the two "Gender" categories.

    If for any reason, someone is trans-gendered it should be made as easy as possible. There's already enough bigotry and phobia out there making their (and our) lives miserable.

    The SSA has now formalised their new arrangements recently to reflect on recent developments and have dropped requirements for surgery from their process [ http://www.advocate.com/politics/transgender/2013/06/14/social-security-removes-surgical-requirement-gender-marker-change ]

    While I may not fully understand why it happens, I try my best to make trans folk feel as comfortable as I can. When you live with someone who has faced all the discrimination, sat through the tears or seen the pain in their eyes just for trying to be something they hate less than the alternative, you'd be slightly more understanding.

    Trans people are people too.

  • by jamesh (87723) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @07:58PM (#44018153)

    What I understand even less is that my gender needs to be noted in most databases anyway. There are still rules saying that as a male I can only marry a female (which for me works well), so I guess the government needs to know so that they can stop me pissing off their god by marrying someone of the same sex. And maybe my insurance company needs to know so they can better charge me according to my risk. But the various utility companies don't need to know, and neither does my bank. A title (Mr/Ms/Lord/Lady/Dr/Comrade etc) or something might be required which would hint at gender but that would be about it.

  • by Immerman (2627577) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @08:16PM (#44018295)

    How is it substantially different from getting a boob or nose job? We pander to people's dissatisfactions with their bodies left, right, and center, what's one more indulgence?

    And it's not like gender is a two-state classification to begin with, for all that we like to pretend it's fully determined by what's between your legs (and even by that measure there are still a few individuals who are either both or neither). Physical gender is actually the combination of several largely independent biological properties, so if you could somehow measure your "maleness" and "femaleness" the two numbers would not necessarily bear any relationship to each other. In fact the discrepancies can get so extreme that there are occasionally people born whose physical gender is actually at odds with their genetic gender - sometimes puberty can trigger at least a partial transformation (I seem to remember reading about a south-american villiage where this is actually not uncommon - some promiscuous ancestor several generations back with an interesting genetic anomaly), but some people only discover the discrepancy when getting a genetic test for unrelated reasons.

     

  • by camperdave (969942) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @08:19PM (#44018319) Journal

    XY = Male ... XX = Female

    What if you're mixed? There are XX males and XY females. XXY and XYY are also possible. Sometimes twins are conceived, but one absorbs the other. It's not quite as simple as you make it out to be.

  • by KGIII (973947) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @08:22PM (#44018345) Journal

    They don't do the surgery on embryos. Err... Do they? I also believe there is one case where they changed their gender back. What do we call them (besides a fellow human)? I think the simplest solution may be to stop keeping track of gender at all except where medically necessary and allow people to fill the roles that they feel suit them best.

  • Bigotry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jbohumil (517473) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @08:24PM (#44018367)
    I'm surprised at all the bigotry here on Slashdot. I hope you guys get a chance to know a transgendered person at some point, it might change your attitudes. I have, and it totally changed my misunderstandings on the subject. I suppose it is natural to be unbelieving in things which seem foreign to our way of thinking, but even if you cannot accept the idea right now, at least give people the benefit of the doubt rather than spew your ignorance as if it were facts. Why not have a look and see attitude? You might be surprised. I feel lucky to have met the transgendered persons I have known in my life, I hope you get the chance.
  • Re:Bigotry (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 15, 2013 @08:35PM (#44018443)

    As an mtf trans person, thank you for being a big enough person to correct your misunderstandings. Some people choose to cling to their ignorance for dear life, I don't understand why.

    A lot of the comments on this article are a perfect example of why this sort of thing needs more discussion. For a website that is supposedly for intelligent people, a lot of them certainly aren't acting like it.

  • by LWolenczak (10527) <julia@evilcow.org> on Saturday June 15, 2013 @08:37PM (#44018455) Homepage Journal

    Seriously? The choice for most of us is to transition and embrace the way our heads our wired or suicide. I don't see a choice there. I didn't have a choice. I didn't choose to have my marriage explode either. Our society is about gender binaries, Male or Female, for the number of people who fit someplace outside of that precise box, having documentation and paperwork that does NOT match their presentation can be crippling in this binary society where people think that if looks don't match that M/F field, then something is very wrong automatically.

    How would you like to hit a TSA checkpoint and almost be denied in the ability to pass beyond the checkpoint to catch your flight because your ID says your Male and you have breasts and look like a Woman? Or better yet, when you present your identification, and people completely change their interaction with you, their tone of speaking, and begin using word that remind you of the pain that you endured.

    Preventing the ability to change documentation is not only for people that are transgendered, its for everyone else who has to see/interact with that identity information. It is inhumane to both parties to prevent the ability to correct the information.

  • by retchdog (1319261) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @08:40PM (#44018479) Journal

    It depends on the purpose. If it's for identification and tracking, then you should put both: "natural hair color" and "intentional hair color (if different)". If it's for casual identification, you might only want the latter. If it's for discriminatory purposes in a eugenic regime, you probably want the former. (Yes, the last one is meant to be silly.)

    Take Lasik. we've pretty much worked out where Lasik is safe: mostly everywhere which doesn't involve changes in ambient pressure. So drivers licenses should have only the corrected vision restrictions, if their purpose is to regulate motor vehicle operation.

    Gender can formally be analyzed similarly. For some purposes, "natural" gender is important, while for other purposes the assigned gender is. If the database field is to track the former, then there's no problem; transgendered individuals can just say, "yeah, the government/corporation cares about that for some silly reason" and go on with their lives. If it's the latter, then yes, it should be updated immediately; otherwise it's a serious failure of the system.

    If I got ticketed or my vehicle impounded for driving without lenses after I got Lasik, I'd be pretty pissed off. Hell, if the cop even verbally accuses me of it, I'd be pretty pissed off. I don't see why it's less of a failure to not update the gender field, if that is what it is meant to represent.

    Of course the issue is that people don't actually understand when gender matters and when it doesn't, let alone why or how; or, at least, there is not yet consensus. This is how humans hash out these difficulties: messily. It still beats the alternative, all told.

    However, pragmatically speaking: since the field can be updated upon petition, it seems obvious to me that it is meant to be tracking the current gender (as assigned, if applicable). In this case, it should be handled better.

    Tangentially, it's worth noting that both Greek and Chinese mythology (and probably most of the others I haven't looked at) involve significant figures undergoing a sex change. Clearly this has been on the minds of humanity for several millennia. It shouldn't be surprising that we have a fair number of early adopters of the nascent technology. That is to say, it's not a "modern perversion." It's an ancient aspiration (or perversion, I guess, depending on your preferences) enabled by modern technology.

    Even more tangentially, the magical properties of someone's "True Name" are now becoming a real issue thanks to data mining and the like. Whatever side of each issue you take, we do live in awesome times.

  • Re:WTF (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 15, 2013 @08:56PM (#44018591)

    Mostly, it's just a head's up to database designers: transgendered people exist, make your database able to correct gender changes or input mistakes easily.

  • Re:Bigotry (Score:3, Insightful)

    by QuietLagoon (813062) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @09:01PM (#44018611)
    Why are you surprised at the bigotry here on /. ? Just look at the E3 [slashdot.org] thread posted a few hours ago.

    .
    Male-dominant sexism, and the rejection of anything 'different,' seems to be actively encouraged in the gaming industry, the customers of which I suspect make up a large part of the /. audience.

  • by Velex (120469) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @09:05PM (#44018631) Homepage Journal

    Undoing a mod to reply to you.

    John Hopkins... humm...

    A recent British review found suicide rates of up to 18 per cent among people who had undergone gender reassignment surgery.

    Feh. Beats the 50% rate of suicide without bottom surgery. All it shows is how uncaring and inhuman people like you are.

    What you don't realize is the huge bias against transgendered identities in psychology.

    Here's the whole problem. Trans folks are routinely denied their voice in these matters. The system prefers objectifying them and finding every excuse to discredit any benefit they've found from HRT and bottom surgery.

    This is how deep the problem goes. We're talking about "transgendered folks," but nobody yet in this entire /. discussion has acknowledged trans men.

    Trans men exist. There are a couple in the local support group. Yes, that's right. Folks born with their reproductive systems on the inside who desire becoming men. They take testosterone. They have facial hair. Their voices deepen and become male voices. If you met one, you'd never know it, because they become practically indistinguishable from cis men (men who were born with their reproductive systems on the outside).

    How do you explain that in terms of childhood sexual abuse or a desire to rape women in the bathroom or any other kind of theory of sexual perversion and sexual domanance that psychology assures us that the misguided trans woman is merely trying to acquire?

    I'd recommend the book Whipping Girl by Julia Serano. It adequately sums up how utterly broken the treatment of trans women is. Did you know that it was until recently that trans women weren't even allowed to start HRT unless they could appear sexually stimulating to a psychologist?

    There is a trifecta of religion, psychology, and feminism that is utterly undermined by the idea that somebody born into the male gender caste would desire being a woman. What I mean by gender caste is the idea that the gender one is assigned at birth on the basis on body parts is somehow far deeper than skin, much like the caste system in India. Religion finds this idea natural in its sole focus on reproduction. Feminism finds its construction of a woman as a victim undermined by the idea that someone who was born a rapist/aggressor/man would, of their own free will, desire to become a victim/woman. However, psychology has the solution. The trans woman could only make the decision to undergo gender transition on the basis on mental illness. Here we finally see the trans woman as the depraved serial killer in a woman suit she is.

    The research you linked to is a direct product of that bias. We have bought into this narrative that men are sexual aggressors and women are victims so deeply that we cannot comprehend why a sexual aggressor would choose to become a victim except by painting it as mental illness.

    Let me clue you in on something. When strangers see me, they believe I'm female. I also have no reason to argue with their assessment. This presents a dilemma. How can you tell somebody who is obviously female and being gendered female by others that she is really, somehow, a man? The only option you have is to do a Crocodile Dundee test and grab me in the crotch.

    So, how, exactly, do these researchers figure that sex change surgery is not effective? It's highly dubious, especially after one considers how many trans women have had their lives improved by bottom surgery. However, their voices are easily dismissed because they do not fit into the narrative that femaleness is artifical vanity that womyn-born-womyn are helpless victims of and that maleness is somehow authentic. We look at the trans woman and we are deeply suspicious of her going about her day with long hair, which we understand the womyn-born-womyn only wears long because she's forced to by some vast male conspiracy (see the article "My Hair Is My Accompli

  • by KGIII (973947) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @09:09PM (#44018649) Journal

    Nature decided who they are physically, yes. The issue is those who think that what nature decided doesn't fit or those few who nature simply couldn't decide and decided they were physically both or none of the above. Which gets me to this... What is your point? Is your point that you can use this thread as a means to spew your bigotry? Is your point that you don't like them? That you're scared of them? That you don't think they're "right in God's eyes?" Well, if you profess to believe in a God then you should be aware that your divine being created them... I don't advocate extra rights for anyone. I do advocate going through life looking for ways to make things less painful or embarrassing for those who aren't of the majority status. If it takes ten minutes longer to author in an "Other" category then, you know what, it is worth it for the good of society. It's not a priority, no. It's just something that can be done. So, again, what is your point?

  • by Kozz (7764) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @09:14PM (#44018671)

    For those not familiar, go look up "epigenetics". I've been pointed to some studies in which there are identical twins who grow into adulthood -- one is gay (for example, pick your LGBTQ?) and the other is not. This being evidence that it's not "genetic" per se, but is epigenetic.

    Nonetheless, I think epigenetics essentially bolsters the claims that most LGBTQ would make, that it's not a conscious decision but it's WHO they ARE.

  • by bondsbw (888959) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @09:15PM (#44018681)

    And it's not as simple as just saying that all humans are equal regardless of gender.

    Men cannot typically compete in women's sports, because human males tend to have an advantage in several areas of athleticism. Mothers tend to have default parental and custodial rights beyond those of the father. There are a multitude of medical reasons to categorize humans as male and female.

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @09:49PM (#44018869)

    I'm not going to flame you because I came at this from the same direction. I discovered that I was wrong. You are correct that transgendered people have a mental-physical mismatch, and you can certainly describe this as a mental problem and be accurate, if perhaps insensitive.

    That said, there is no treatment available that works better than sexual reassignment surgery. I feel that the minor adjustments that we need to make to accommodate these people pale in comparison to what we do to accommodate people with physical handicaps, and we should probably help them if we want to see ourselves as compassionate. If a person who is obviously a dude wants to behave as a lady, the least I can do is go along with the ruse if it means they are more likely to be happy and less likely to commit suicide.

    Like any condition, if an option someday arises that works as well or better than surgery, they should definitely pursue that - but in the meantime, just have some compassion for someone with a very difficult life.

  • Re:Bigotry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stdarg (456557) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @10:14PM (#44019003)

    Really, who can blame people? If you have a non-politically correct opinion, you face huge repercussions for voicing it. People lose their jobs for voicing the "wrong" opinion. Free speech in this country is in a horrible state, because it only applies in a very narrow way to government laws and actions. There's no protection from other people, unlike other rights. You can't be fired by a racist boss for being black, but you can be fired by a PC boss for being un-PC. It's not a protected group.

  • Re:Oh no (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thegarbz (1787294) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @10:26PM (#44019077)

    Those poor 0.0000001%. It's so tough for them.

    Are you trying to tell me there's only 6 transgender people in the world? You clearly have not been to Thailand.

  • This isn't a joke. It's about a tiny but very real group of people being able to live their lives safely and in dignity.

    Leaving aside questions of what data is needed in the medical profession to handle biology correctly - which is a completely different issue - the attitude that people deserve to have their secrets outed so that other people can entertain themselves by laughing at them is just... not the geek world I grew up in having programmed computers since the age of 8. My mum got me into it, in a family where everyone writes code.

    As a lesbian geek girl, I'm disgusted by a lot of the comments here, and really don't know if I even belong on this forum any more. I don't write much but have been reading on a daily basis since the late 1990s.

    The transgender community seems to be under attack these days since they're small enough not to be able to fight back in the way that the gay and lesbian community and various ethnic minorities have. Finally all the bigots and religious fundamentalists have found a group of people who it is "safe" to bully.

    But please, not on slashdot!!

    Surely, as so called "nerds" you would know something about the history of your industry. Have you heard of Alan Turing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Turing), who developed the model for the general purpose computer, only to be arrested for being homosexual, clinically castrated, and driven to suicide? You probably have, and I assume he's one of the reasons why a lot of IT companies are very good at accepting gay men and lesbian.

    What about Lynn Conway [umich.edu], Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan, who literally wrote the book on VLSI design (Introduction to VLSI systems). She's alive, fortunately, but we all lost a lot of her work when she was forced to start again "at the bottom of the ladder" as a contract programmer in mid-career to hide her gender past from your bigotry and intolerance.

    What about Lana (formerly Larry) Wachowski [wikipedia.org] who co-produced the Matrix Trilogy? She came close to not surviving the hate growing up, and if she hadn't survived, we would never have gotten to see The Matrix.

    And - he might not have been a geek, but - what about Mike Penner, who committed suicide after an unsuccessful attempt at gender transition?

    Seriously, wannabe geeks, as tiny a minority as the transgender community is, the IT industry is packed full of transsexuals and transgender people. And many of us here have romantic partners, or parents, or brothers and sisters and friends who are. At least here in Melbourne, Australia, you can't write code and hang out in the industry without getting close to many of them.

    It seems that all the gay men and lesbians are too successful and too powerful for you to attack now. So like all bullies, you run off in search of an easier victim.

    Getting back to the topic, why exactly do you need databases to say things about people's gender that don't match how they present themselves? To out them and embarrass them because they "deserve" it? How little compassion and caring do you have for other people? Would you want to be treated this way yourselves if you had some type of secret you had to keep from people who would hate you because of it?

    If you were in Europe circa World War 2, would you insist that records there included whether or not a person was Jewish, based on genetic testing? With no ability for a person to change their record to say they were, say, Russian, if it could give them a better chance of finding employment or even survival?

    In case you think the analogy isn't fair (and yes, I am Jewish, and migrated from Russia with my parents as a three year old), have a look at what the Salvation Army (who the government in Australia got involved in finding jobs for the unemployed a few years ago) are saying and doing:

  • Re:WTF (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kimvette (919543) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @10:36PM (#44019119) Homepage Journal

    what about caring about intersex people who were born with ambiguous genitalia and have to deal with this shit as well? Is it okay to be persecuted by tyranny of the majority because we are, as you put it. "a tiny minority" that is even smaller than the TG minority? Is that okay in your opinion?

  • by realityimpaired (1668397) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @11:01PM (#44019241)

    For those not familiar, go look up "epigenetics". I've been pointed to some studies in which there are identical twins who grow into adulthood -- one is gay (for example, pick your LGBTQ?) and the other is not. This being evidence that it's not "genetic" per se, but is epigenetic

    The counterpoint to this being that even though there's examples where one's gay and the other isn't, the statistical probability that both twins are gay is several orders of magnitude higher than it is for non-twin siblings, suggesting that there is probably still a genetic correlation.

    The counter-counterpoint is that there's also a statistically significant probability that later children will be gay (a woman's 1st son has X percentage chance, her 5th son has X+Y percentage), which suggests that homosexuality may actually be a biological response to overpopulation, and that there's hormonal triggers in utero which can cause it.

    Likely, as the GP says, there's a very large number of factors, and people are making mistakes by trying to single out an individual factor as the cause. This also goes for transgenderism, which, as the GP says, should be treated on basis of "they're human, they deserve equal treatment", not "they're different, they deserve equal treatment".

  • GTFU (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tverbeek (457094) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @11:03PM (#44019245) Homepage
    "a tiny minority of people who knew going into it"

    You mean before they were born?

    (This is going to sound a lot like the kind of lecture you used to have to give people about sexual orientation, but that's how it goes....)

    Being transgender isn't something that someone just decides to do one day, as an adult. It's about people who are designated "male" or "female" at birth (usually based on whether they have an identifiable dick or not) but grow up feeling that they've been miscategorized. The "how"s and "why"s of it aren't especially well understood, but the fact that it happens is (or at least should be) well established and accepted.

    Those who go through with legal and/or physical gender reassignment don't do it by "choice", but because they feel a need to. Yes, they know they'll face pointless bureaucratic red tape, and possibly a lifetime of trying to explain to friends, coworkers, employers, and service providers with crappy customer service. They do it for their sense of self-identity and emotional well-being. It can be a nightmare. Even though it doesn't need to be. But it is, mostly because of dismissive jerks like you, who don't want to be bothered by taking it seriously.
  • Re:Bigotry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stdarg (456557) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @11:04PM (#44019255)

    Empathy is important but so is the ability to talk about things honestly. Making people afraid to say what they feel about this issue doesn't change how they feel and it doesn't change how they act whenever they get a chance. It only makes it worse... the guy who can't say what he feels balances that by being even more extreme when he CAN get away with it.

  • Re:Bigotry (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stdarg (456557) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @11:53PM (#44019479)

    Heh what did I say that was bigoted? I have plenty of un-pc opinions but I don't think I've shared any today, at least not on purpose. Basically you're an idiot.

  • Re:Bigotry (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ceriel Nosforit (682174) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @12:17AM (#44019579)

    Used to be people used AC to divulge info that could jeopardize their jobs.

    Transgendered isn't the same as transvestite. Any man can dress up as a woman and make dubious claims, but a psychologist won't be fooled by it. As such, you've succeeded in trolling Slashdot in your ignorance.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @12:27AM (#44019647)

    Is we need to define what we mean when we ask for someone's sex or gender on a form. I think part of the problem is different people identify what it means differently. Some in the transgender community say it is 100% about what you personally choose to identify as. So you could be genetically male, have an XY chromosome set, and biologically male, as in have male genitals and body structure, but identify yourself as female and that's what you should mark down. However other people might disagree. If you went in to the woman's dressing room at a rec center the biological women in there might not be at all comfortable with that since they identify you as male, due to your biology.

    So one of the things we need to do is clarify the terms, and perhaps have different terms for identifying someone's genetic structure, biological makeup, and sexual identity.

    Like when you are talking to a doctor, the genetic definition matters. Reason is that health issues do NOT affect both genders equally, and it has nothing to do with appearance or identity, it has to do with genetics. So even if you've had a sex change operation and all that, proper identification as genetically male could be relevant to medical providers.

    For most people it is more about biology, as in what bits do you have between your legs. We visually identify people as male or female, and most are pretty clearly one or the other. That is one of the reasons it gets asked for lots of forms of ID is to help ensure that the ID is for the person holding it. For that, we might want to use your biological appearance. If you undergo a sex change surgery, then you change that identifier.

    In terms of the pronoun you wish people to use to identify your gender, that really is up to you, though you need to understand it can be confusing to people if you appear and sound different than you identify.

    So as you say we need to review why the information is collected, and then define terms to say what sort of thing we are talking about. We can't just say "Well let people identify as whatever they want," since reality doesn't work that way. However if you are just collecting it for no real reason, then don't and let people identify how they wish.

  • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @12:47AM (#44019771)

    Assuming its possible to surgically change your eyecolor (Im not sure that it is), your eyes would actually be a different color.

    No amount of surgery can change the chromosomes a person has, or give functional sex organs from the opposite sex. Such surgery is cosmetic, and involves hormone therapy because your body doesnt produce those hormones. Any guesses as to why that might be?

  • by dalias (1978986) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @12:58AM (#44019825)
    Neither gender or sex belongs in most databases any more than race, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, or any other sort of information that has no bearing on the business or government agency's interaction with the person. Storing more information than you should in your database only leads to headaches and possible legal liabilities.
  • by stdarg (456557) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @01:07AM (#44019863)

    Self identification. You think of yourself as a man (I assume). The GP identifies herself as a woman.

    I know.. I'm wondering what the distinction is between a guy who identifies with women vs. a guy who identifies as a woman. What does it mean to feel that you are a woman? Does it require a belief in a soul, and a gendered soul specifically?

    I'm assuming you don't believe that gender is a social construct, since that means our gender is defined by society's view of us, not some inherent feeling. What do you think decides which way that feeling points?

  • Re::3 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ceriel Nosforit (682174) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @01:24AM (#44019907)

    I agree that modifying the body to fix a mental illness is a good solution.

    Riddle me this: is a phantom limb in place of a lost one a mental illness?

    Why assume that physical is right and mental is wrong? For all of neural plasticity, why do TG people exist at all?

  • Re:Bigotry (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AdamHaun (43173) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @01:39AM (#44019981) Journal

    How is calling a spade a spade bigotry?

    Being callously dismissive of other people's lives and concerns for your own personal convenience is often considered bigotry. Are you aware that there's no biological [slashdot.org] or sociological basis for what you're saying?

    While there are some quite inflammatory remarks here, most of them seem to simply be of the not wanting to deal with peoples irrelevant emotional bullshit. People don't give a crap how others act or what they want to call themselves, but the slashdot demographic have a penchant for details, they like to cut through emotional bullshit.

    The desire for other people to fit into neat, logical boxes defined only by your own personal experiences is, itself, irrelevant emotional bullshit. It also reflects a privileged sense of self-entitlement. See above re: bigotry.

    A man wanting to call himself a lady is more than welcome to.. but he is still a man, your feelings do not change reality.

    But yours do? What lets you claim the mantle of objectivity when discussing discussing people you know nothing about? See above re: privilege.

    What a lot of people want is to just get by, do/make nice things and cut the crap.

    Who are you mentally picturing when you say "a lot of people"? Can these people take it for granted that they will be allowed to define their own identities? Why is defining one's own identity in a way unlike yours "crap"?

    I notice a lot of "us vs them" mentality with the people who choose empathy over reality, when really there is no need to fight. There is nothing wrong with wanting to call a spade a spade. If the spade is offended by that then tough.

    How did you fit that much cognitive dissonance into such a small space?

    What I'd like to see is people embracing whatever they do instead of hiding behind emotional crap. You're transgender? fine, who cares. Don't like being called a man when you are one? why should you care, it is true, don't be ashamed of what you are.

    This shows at least a vague and abstract concern for people who are not like you. So that's good. Unfortunately, gender identity (and sexual orientation) are things that people are willing to kill and die over, not to mention a thousand other petty harassments [slashdot.org]. So "who cares?" isn't really a workable response.

    "gender identity" is a complete load of bollocks. It is ascribing behaviours to sexes that are not necessarily the case, since if it were we would not have these issues. To be perfectly clear it would be more accurate to say for instance "I am male, but have behaviours typically attributed to females."

    Distinguishing between biology and culture is indeed useful. That sentence is a mouthful, though. Maybe we could use shorter words to distinguish the concepts -- how about "sex" and "gender"? And if we wanted to ask someone what gender *they* think they are, then we'd be talking about their, er... "gender identity". Oops. It would be nice if we didn't need the concept anymore, but see above re: killing/dying/harassment.

  • by Mycroft_VIII (572950) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @02:30AM (#44020183) Journal
    I've seen women, genetically and mentally, who looked liked guys in drag. And guys who probably would have looked better in drag.
        So yeah the system can fail.

    Mycroft
  • by grahammm (9083) <graham@gmurray.org.uk> on Sunday June 16, 2013 @04:57AM (#44020635)

    And if you, because of disease or accident, have had your penis amputated, should you therefore be sent to the women's facility?

  • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @05:33AM (#44020733) Homepage

    So we should continue to spend time and money indefinitely until every single possible outlier case in every system of categorisation can be accounted for rigorously and completely?

  • by Golthar (162696) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @06:33AM (#44020885)

    As shameful as some of the comments are (I'm embarrassed as well by some of the bigotry on here), let's not feed into the animosity more by painting us all with the same brush.

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