Your assignment, children, is to cease perceiving of yourself as either male or female, but to view your sex as something “assigned” to you at birth.
Today, the Maryland Senate will likely pass House Bill 235, which adds “gender identity” to the list of categories requiring special attention for anti-discrimination law.
The most interesting and Orwellian thing about this bill – and so many like it across the nation -- is its stealthy use of language to redefine our humanity.
At the moment the bill defines gender identity as “a gender-related identity or appearance of an individual regardless of the individual’s assigned sex at birth.”
The key word here is “assigned.”
A curious development over the past 10 years or so is the politically motivated use of the term “assigned” when referring to sex identification on everyone’s birth certificates. (The strict medical use of this term still appears reserved mostly for cases of ambiguity in newborns’ genitalia and/or chromosomes.)
The Maryland bill’s usage of the term “assigned at birth” is meant to apply universally. It assumes – for us all – that our sex was never an inherent trait, but that authorities made an arbitrary selection of either the “M” or “F” box on our birth certificates.
It requires everyone to accept the idea that our sex is a social construct, relative and changeable, and to reject it as a genetic or physical fact.
Googling the term “sex assigned at birth” immediately yields hundreds of links predominantly political in nature, about transgender rights and politics.
Its first use in an American newspaper appears to be an activist’s October 10, 1999 letter to the editor of the Providence Journal Bulletin.
The term has also bubbled up in reference to allowing transsexuals to amend their birth certificates, now permitted in many US states.
The “transagenda” though is not really about choosing either male or female. Its reach is illustrated in the media reference of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation, which defines gender identity as “self-identification as woman, man, neither or both.”
An example of this push for ambiguity is in the 2007 law adopted in Montgomery County, Maryland which states “Gender identity means an individual’s actual or perceived gender . . . “
Perceptions, of course, can change from moment to moment.
Since we’re liberating ourselves from arbitrary “assignments” and celebrating our perceptions, here is a modest proposal for legislators to consider.
Why not add “age identity” to the list of anti-discrimination categories and accommodate a date of birth different from that “assigned at birth?” There is in fact rampant discrimination against “trans-aged” individuals.
How confining it is for someone who identifies as 17 to be forced to conform to the age of 58. Or what about a 32-year-old who identifies as 73, yet cannot collect Social Security?
And it is indeed an act of cruelty to force a 14-year-old who identifies as 24 into a middle school classroom.
Though this idea might appeal to many who feel “this is the dawning of the age of the trans-aged,” the logic of this legislation dictates that we add the term
“identity” – actual or perceived -- to every category of anti-discrimination law, including race, religion, national origin.
Most insidious about this legislation is that by acting to redefine the humanity of us all, it is a gross violation of the trust of the governed.
Stella Morabito is a Maryland writer on issues of society, culture and education.