By Kim Rossi
Let me say here and now, this post is a comparison of two New York situations that I have drawn myself. I am not making a judgement about choosing one's identity as "X" on a birth certificate as an adult. I am pro-choice. Everywhere. Including vaccination choice. And I am certainly in favor of PRIDE and gay equality. My brother is a married, gay man. Our Dan Olmsted was a married, gay man. This post is not to open a dialog about sexual orientation. We'll monitor comments closely. I hope you understand. So...
Yesterday I was listening to the news with Robin Quivers on the Howard Stern Show on Sirius Satellite radio. If you know me, you know I've been a fan for 25 years. However, on the news, Robin alerted me to a vote coming up in New York state that will allow adults to revise their birth certificate from a male or female gender to "X." OK. Adults will be able to change and choose their gender, including "X". Which is neither male nor female. I think XXXY would have been a better choice, but perhaps perceived as naughty. (This is Kim writing, if I can't make you laugh, I'm past my prime.)
I got to thinking: How is it that the state of New York can consider allowing choice right down to gender, but have draconian processes to get a choice in how a child is vaccinated? Why is some choice more acceptable than others? Who is to say that health comes from full vaccination and only from full vaccination? We know this is not true. Vaccines fail. Immunity wanes. Recipients suffer injury. Vaccination is not a perfect medical procedure.
In 2009, attorney Rita Palma wrote a post for us about the rigorous "sincerity test" required in New York for a religious exemption to vaccination Take a look at the videos. AofA New York readers will attest to the hoops - on fire - that they have had to jump to get "choice" for their children.
From Time Magazine on the "X" designation:
By Deepti Hajela / AP
Currently, if parents of a newborn do not want to identify a sex, they can say the sex of the child is undetermined or unknown. The “X” category would be something adults could choose for their own birth certificate.
If it passes, New York City would join California, Oregon and Washington in having the third category on birth certificates, while Washington, D.C. allows it on driver’s licenses.
Both elected officials noted that June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.
“Pride Month is a time to celebrate how far we’ve come in the fight for equality, and re-affirm our commitment to protecting all New Yorkers from discrimination,” de Blasio, a Democrat said. “This proposal will allow transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers to live with the dignity and respect they deserve, and make our City fairer.”
Johnson said, “This is about making it easier for people to be who they truly are and letting them know that New York City understands them and has their backs.”
The change also is expected to be considered on June 5 at a meeting of the Board of Health, with a hearing in July and a vote in September if the board agrees. The legislation in the City Council will match the language of the proposal that the Board of Health is considering.
“Transgender New Yorkers, like everyone else, should have birth certificates that reflect their true gender identity,” said Dr. Mary Bassett, the city’s health commissioner. “We know that being able to live your authentic gender and gender expression is critical to physical and mental health. Now more than ever, we must ensure that all people can live their best and healthiest lives.”
I don't know what are the ramifications or benefits of choosing "X" as a gender on a birth certificate beyond the peace that might come from formally removing oneself from the gender on the original certificate. There's value to that, of course. I do know that the ramifications of vaccination choices are as deeply personal and often painful. None of us chose to change vaccination for our children out of the blue, or as a lark. We want our kids to live their best and healthiest lives.
Why doesn't OUR choice matter in New York, or anywhere for that matter? And before you comment, "because you're putting herd at risk," I don't buy that argument. Disease is here to stay. And Mother Nature finds a way to fight back. No one with measles or chicken pox should parade around school infecting other. But a healthy child without an MMR or chicken pox vaccine should be able to attend school as a matter of course without a "sincerity test."
Kim Rossi is Managing Editor for Age of Autism.