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Gender markers are useless – the temple news


On October 27, the United States Department of State announced that it had issued the first passport with an “X” gender marker, which represents non-binary, intersex, or gender non-conforming people. The gender marker “X” will become an option for all US passport applicants in 2022, CNN reported.

Pennsylvania made the gender marker “X” an option for driver’s licenses in 2020. Pennsylvanians who already have a driver’s license can change their gender marker by completing a DL-32 form, which allows residents to do so. a gender change request on their driver’s license or ID card and bring it to a PennDOT Driver’s License Center, according to PennDOT Driving and Vehicle Services website.

It is monumental that more people are seeing their sex affirmed on official identification documents thanks to the expansion of the gender marker “X”. Even so, gender markers should be removed entirely from passports and other forms of identification as they are useless and potentially leave people vulnerable to discrimination. If gender markers remain in place, people should have the option of not indicating their gender.

Heath Davis, professor of political science and director of the Intellectual Heritage program, questions the need for gender and sex categories in identity documents, bathrooms and university admissions applications.

“I think the X tag is a way to recognize people who identify as non-binary or intersex, but I would love to see us go one step further and completely remove gender markers from passports and other identification documents.” said Davis. “They don’t really need to be when you think about the purpose of these documents to identify us personally, and there are better ways to do it. “

However, the International Civil Aviation Organization, an organization within the United Nations that recommends and helps establish air traffic standards, has argued that updating the border patrol software to remove the gender category would reduce the ability of some border authorities to conduct risk assessments on travelers partly based on gender.

While there may be costs associated with removing gender markers, ICAO has also complaints that incorrect gender markers confused border officials, rendering them ineffective. In addition, they are already using facial recognition technology to match identification documents with database records and are adding more biomarkers, such as fingerprints and iris scans.

A person’s gender cannot be deduced from their appearance. Gender does not determine the different clothes, makeup, accessories, and hairstyles that people are allowed to wear. Gender identity is not determined by the perceptions of others.

In June 2021, the American Medical Association recommended removing sexual assignments from the public portion of birth certificates because assigning a baby as male or female does not recognize the full medical spectrum of gender identity, which recognizes intersex or non-binary people. Instead, information about a baby’s gender would only be visible to medical professionals.

As the largest national medical association in the United States, WADA’s recommendation demonstrates that gender and sex markers are unnecessary, if not harmful, on identification documents.

In a 2015 investigation According to the National Center for Transgender Equity, 68 percent of transgender adults reported that they did not have their name or gender correct on an identification document. Thirty-two percent of respondents who had shown some form of identification with a name or sex that did not match their gender presentation were verbally harassed, denied benefits or services, asked to leave, or assaulted.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority removed gender markers from its weekly and monthly passes in 2013. Previously, the passes included male and female markers.

SEPTA’s removal of gender markers came after Riders Against Gender Exclusion – a group of transgender, genderqueer and gay people – lobbied the transport agency by protesting and collecting testimonies and petition signatures. The group formed in 2009 to protest the discrimination that Charlene Arcila, a transgender woman, experimented in 2007 due to the gender marker on his commuter pass preventing him from using his SEPTA Transpass with his preferred gender.

SEPTA’s decision to remove gender markers from transit passes is a step towards removing them from other identification documents, as they do not confirm people’s identities and may expose people who don’t match. not to their listed gender marker at risk of harm.

Whether it’s a driver’s license or a passport, removing gender markers from identification eliminates the discrimination people face, as all that should be needed is to match your passport photo, said Brad Windhauser, professor in the departments of English and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies.

Additionally, adding an “X” gender marker option for identification documents does not remove the male and female markers currently in place. It could create a gender ternary – a system with three gender categories – instead of expanding people’s ideas about gender beyond any rigid system.

Second-year political science and history student Adrien Van Voorhis has an ‘X’ marker on his driver’s license, but has since changed his mind about gender markers, now advocating for their removal, they said. .

“I don’t think my individual assertion is worth buying into a system that perpetuates those kind of markers and that perpetuates a two or three category gender system,” Van Voorhis said.

While gender markers can give individuals a sense of assertiveness, they are not useful for identification purposes and are best removed from identification documents.

“I think for a lot of [cisgender] folks, that’s not something we’ve ever been asked to think about when it’s on our driver’s licenses or state issued IDs or a box we tick, ”he said. Windhauser said. “People always assumed it wasn’t a big deal and the idea of ​​having it was kind of a given.”