Is a third sex category really necessary?

24 Mar

The third sex designation actually has always existed for the ambiguously gendered (from the genital perspective) formerly known as hermaphrodites, but currently referred to by the kinder term of intersexed. The question therefore perhaps should be whether or not there is need for a fourth gender. Either way, the answer is unequivocally yes!

As a trannsexual person myself, I know all to well the struggle for identity. Not only is it helpful to have a means of identifying oneself regardless of genitalia, but from a legal perspective it would be incredibly helpful. Unless it is something you or to a lesser degree someone close to you is or has struggled with it is difficult at best to comprehend what proper recognition means.

Being able to identify oneself is one of the most basic things in the world. As a male in the world I never felt as if I fit in, even as a preoperative transsexual it was difficult. In fact it was down right scary. To present oneself as one person to the world but still be somewhere in between physically can be an incredible challenge to face from a social and legal standpoint. Such a process is something which in no way happens overnight.

Beyond the physical aspects everyone is quite aware of, it is the legal dilemma which can create an incredible problem. On numerous occasions while awaiting my legal change of name I was asked for identification and on two occasions even disallowed use of my credit card although I looked just like myself in the updated license photo. The second time my card was even confiscated. Even at my own bank I had problems until discussing my situation with the branch manager so that I wouldn’t hae to face embarrassing situation in line. I had been detained by mall security for use of the female restroom even while in possession of notarized notes from my MD and psychiatrist explaining my situation and that I was undergoing the real life test. Granted no arrest or actual jail detention ever occurred from this but it is still an incredibly disheartening experience.

Socially the phenomena is far more difficult personally. To have to explain oneself constantly when carrying out basic functions can be incredibly embarrassing. To have a clerk look at you and say something to the effect of “Well you look female but your ID says male”, or just the simple looks of disgust or misunderstanding are ego blows. It certainly doesn’t have to be this way.

Birth certificates are allowed the designations of male, female, or ambiguously gendered, so why can’t state or federal identification cards? It would take basically zero dollars to allow for the designation of “T”, “TG”, or perhaps “TS” to be used. Of course there should be medical backing for such designations but it would allow for a much smoother transition for people already in a very difficult, personal, emotionally vulnerable position.

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