AMA seeks to remove sex designation from public birth certificates
The AMA announced that it recently adopted a policy that will support removing a person’s sex designation from the public portion of birth certificates.
The AMA House of Delegates said it is building on an existing policy that recognizes “every individual has the right to determine their gender identity and sex designation on government documents.”
A 2015 population-based study in Belgium published in Archives of Sexual Behavior reported that gender ambivalence — identifying equally with the other sex as with the sex assigned at birth — was present in 2.2% of adults who were assigned male at birth and 1.9% of adults who were assigned female at birth. In addition, gender incongruence — identifying “strongly” with the sex other than the sex assigned at birth — was found in 0.7% of men and 0.6% of women.
The authors of a 2020 review in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health wrote that a “considerable proportion” of young people who identify as transgender or gender diverse “do not conform to traditional binary notions of gender (male vs. female) and instead have a nonbinary gender identity.”
The authors also noted that young people with a nonbinary gender identity “experience lower levels of support and are at increased risk for experiencing abuse and victimization than young people who are cisgender.” Compared with those who are transgender and binary, individuals who identify as nonbinary have less access to trans-specific health care and have “similar if not higher” rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation.
According to a press release, the new AMA policy is intended to shield a person from invasion of privacy and to stop discrimination. It would still allow for information on a person’s sex designation at birth to be gathered and provided on the U.S. Standard Certificate of Live Birth form — information that is only used for medical, public health and statistical purposes.
“Designating sex on birth certificates as male or female, and making that information available on the public portion, perpetuates a view that sex designation is permanent and fails to recognize the medical spectrum of gender identity,” Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, MD, AMA board chair-elect, said in the release. “This type of categorization system also risks stifling an individual’s self-expression and self-identification and contributes to marginalization and minoritization.”
AMA. AMA announced policies adopted on final day of Special Meeting. Available at: https://www.ama-assn.org/press-center/press-releases/ama-announced-policies-adopted-final-day-special-meeting. Accessed June 23, 2021.