X Marks the Spot


Introduction of X on birth certificates

Let’s talk about sex. No, not that kind, but the actual genetics that make up who we are. Sex is different than gender, in that it is not how you identify, but what genitalia you are born with. These are important distinctions because sex can be a determining factor for what health issues you may face as you age. Some common examples are that osteoporosis is a higher risk for women, and men can develop prostate cancer. People often speak as if the two are interchangeable, but that is where the trouble begins.

Nova Scotia government has proposed changes to birth certificate registration, to become effective in January. This will put Nova Scotia among the ranks of Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta, Yukon and the Northwest Territories who have already established these changes. The changes will give people the option to enter X rather than male or female in sex identification and waive the fee for registration. The language is important to remark as it speaks of sex rather than gender.

Parents will have the option to enter their children under any given surname and there will be a removal of the requirement for anyone 16 or older to get a statement from a health professional to change their sex indicator. Policy states that less time will be required as a permanent resident before they can apply for their certificates, reducing from one year to three months

As a cisgender man, which means that I identify as the sex I was born in, which is male, I do not feel I have the voice to comment on something that does not apply to me directly. I reached out to several sources in hopes of having input, but given the personal nature of the issue, I have not received comment. As a result, I am pushed further to address the issue myself.

What does the introduction of an X option have to do with anyone who doesn’t identify as transgender? Almost nothing; the only place where there could be concern is medical professionals dealing with individuals who identify as transgender. If their identification lists one thing rather than another, there may be surprises during emergency surgeries and negative effects in medications applied to a patient. The details for this are not clearly identified in the information posted about the changes being made and must be clearly laid out to protect the health of those it impacts, and the safety of those who practice medicine. This is where the language of sex identification and gender plays such a large role.

My take on the matter is that if it does not affect me, and it won’t have adverse effects on people’s lives, the medical profession, or have any impact but helping those who struggle with identity, then why not? There are larger issues facing society than how a person identifies, but we should value and respect the individual and their plight for acceptance.

That does not slow down the comments feeding in from across the province. On 101.5 the Hawk’s facebook page Catherine Ann Marie Lacasse comments “When you are born you have body parts that clearly define your gender.” This statement lacks the understanding between sex and gender, remarking that the two are one and the same. Other comments are equally as uninformed and are, for the most part, derogatory. As someone who does lack the understanding of what it truly means to be transgender, I look to ask questions, to get informed and to be as accepting as possible. Fear and hate are most often propagated by the unknown.

If you have any questions, concerns, comments or would like to make a posting, please contact us at the Xaverian Weekly. We would love to hear from you.