Friday, June 08, 2018

"A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet"

Shakespeare might have had a different idea about names but for us a name is important.

One this that is important for us is being able to change the name and gender on our birth certificates, we need it to get a job, a passport and other identity documents.
How Birth Certificates Are Being Weaponized Once Again
A century ago, birth certificates were used to segregate the South. Today, they’re being used to impose binary identities on transgender people.
The Atlantic
By Garrett Epps
June 8, 2018

When Walter A. Plecker died in August 1947, his “death was considered a gift by many,” writes historian Arica L. Coleman in her searing history, That the Blood Stay Pure: African Americans, Native Americans, and the Predicament of Race and Identity in Virginia. “It marked the end of one of the most virulent, bureaucratic, and racist regimes in the history of [Virginia] and the nation.”

Six decades later, however, Plecker’s ghost still sometimes shows his face—most recently in litigation about the rights of transgender Americans.

Plecker was Virginia’s registrar of vital statistics from 1912 to 1946. He played a leading role in creating and enforcing the grotesque racial dictatorship called segregation, which ruled the South from the 1890s until 1964—and whose heritage still divides and degrades the region today.
I thought birth certificates was something that were used forever and not a recent invention, so this is an eye opener that it was created to enforce segregation.
Plecker would, I suspect, not be surprised to learn that in 2018, the birth certificate is being used as a weapon against transgender people. To him, the birth certificate always was a weapon; he deployed it in a nearly 40-year campaign of racial terrorism against Virginia’s black residents—and a disturbingly successful attempt at what Coleman calls “pencil genocide” against the state’s Native American population. It was particularly powerful in his hands because he was one of the architects of Virginia’s notorious Racial Integrity Act, passed in 1924 to prevent racially mixed marriages. Enforcing the Act required the state to maintain comprehensive records of its residents’ race. The race had to be recorded on the birth certificate, and Plecker policed that record-keeping ruthlessly. The birth certificate, he believed, was a key part of preserving the purity of the white race. Under the law, there were two and only two answers: “white” or “colored.” The notation was important: It would determine whom the individual could marry, where he or she could seek medical care, and even where he or she could be buried.
And once again birth certificates are being used against us,
The infamous “bathroom bills”—passed and partially repealed in North Carolina, and proposed in more than a dozen other states—were also birth-certificate based; they would make binding for life the assignment of sex performed at birth. In Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified School District, decided last year by the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Ash Whitaker, a transgender boy, was denied permission to use the boys’ bathroom despite two letters from his physician. At oral argument, the district argued instead that it would only accept “a birth certificate that designated his sex as male.” The appeals court, holding for Ash, noted the “arbitrary nature” of reliance on birth certificates.

Gavin Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board was decided last month by the Fourth Circuit; Grimm, a transgender boy, was blocked from use of the boys’ room after parent complaints. Even when a Virginia court granted him an amended birth certificate, the school board would not budge, saying that his “biological gender” was still female. “The board’s argument,” the appeals court wrote, “rings hollow.”
Connecticut uses sanity for our birth certificates; you can change your gender with only a letter from a healthcare provider or therapist. They seal your old birth certificate and issue a brand new certificate.

The biggest argument against changes the document is that it is a “historic” document but I have no idea what they meant by that, does anybody know what they mean? It is only a document to prove that you are a child of your parents and that you are a U.S. citizen.
Faulker University law professor Adam J. McLeod argues that these changes to birth certificates should not be made:
… the correspondence between a child’s identity and natural parentage is precisely why birth certificates list the child’s actual, biological parents. As embodied beings, our identity is constituted in large part in our biological reality. Each of us inherits (for better and worse) the biological basis for his identity from his father and mother. To record as parent someone who is not the child’s biological parent is to make a permanent misstatement about the child’s identity.
It seems clear, however, that what we call birth certificates are not scientific or medical documents. When a baby is born, hospitals fill out and file what is called a form attesting to a “live birth,” which contains information about parentage, weight, sex, and general health and is shared with public-health authorities. The birth certificate, issued later, is primarily used as a form of identification. It is frequently altered later in life—most commonly after adoption, when most states allow the adoptive parent or parents to be substituted for those recorded at birth. Transgender people seek the same opportunity to make their birth certificates match their present identity.
Down in Puerto Rico the court got it right…
The right to identify our own existence lies at the heart of one’s humanity. And so, we must heed their voices: “the woman that I am,” “the man that I am.” Plaintiffs know they are not fodder for memoranda legalese. They have stepped up for those whose voices, debilitated by raw discrimination, have been hushed into silence. They cannot wait for another generation, hoping for a lawmaker to act. They, like Linda Brown, took the steps to the courthouse to demand what is due: their right to exist, to live more and die less.


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