Moms Have 3 Choices for Baby's Gender Now

Say What!? 26

gender changerWhen a baby is born, the first thing most of us ask is: boy or girl? But a new law could change all that! Parents who welcome a new baby into the world could have a third choice on the birth certificate: no gender at all.

Basically, parents can now opt out of picking a sex for their kid. It sounds like a big win for the transgender community. Finally! No more living between two genders! But what about parents? Talk about pressure!

The idea comes out of Germany, where officials reviewed cases of babies born with ambiguous genitalia. They reportedly found that in a majority of situations where parents opted for sex assignment surgery at a young age, the kids ended up unhappy as they aged. With the new law, the hope is that parents will forego those surgeries until kids are old enough to choose a gender on their own. The country is also changing passports to allow folks to list themselves as male, female, or intersex, although the expectation is that kids will eventually choose one of the traditional two sexes.

Happier kids is always a good thing. But let's talk about the reality of being a parent in the maternity ward, faced with a birth certificate ... and a decision.

Aside from the aforementioned ambiguous genitalia, how is a parent to know which gender their child will choose as they age?

Yes, MOST kids end up aligning with the gender their "born with," so to speak, but not all! We now know so much more about gender identity than we did even 10 years ago. We know that genitalia isn't everything. A transgender person may well be born with all the working parts of one gender but just never feel like it fits.

So what's a parent to do?

Not picking a sex almost sounds like the easier option here. Then you never have to worry about your kid turning around and saying, "Mom, you got it wrong!"

But then again, transgender folks still make up such a small portion of the population (in the US, for example, only .3 percent of adults identify as transgender) that going that route to avoid headaches could cause more down the road! Because eventually your girl or boy will identify as such, and it's back to the drawing board to get all the paperwork that signifies them as a boy or a girl.

Just having to go get a new Social Security card for my kid was headache enough. I can't imagine going through all of THAT.

I doff my cap to German officials for being open enough to the intricacies of human sexuality to try to give kids a better start at life, but the "no gender" option seems like it will just make parents' lives crazy instead of their kids'. I just wish there was a better way ...

Presented with this option, what would YOU choose for your baby?


Image via Pete/Flickr



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youth... youthfulsoul

I don't get why they can't just do a DNA test and determine which sex the baby is. The ambiguous genitalia is a symptom of CAH which has nothing to do with sex.

keelh... keelhaulrose

Youthfulsoul, often intersex individuals cannot have sex determined by a DNA test. There's a reason they're born with ambiguous genitalia.
Best let the child make the choice themselves when they're ready.

nonmember avatar eyeroll

This is sickening and just weird. A person is either 1)male or 2)female there is no 3rd gender!!! I realize birth defects happen, but a third gender?!? But hey, I guess now you can be genderless, or I don't know, maybe a cat too?? I just don't get it....male, female or intersex???? Maybe it is the water everyone is drinking, but is it me or does it seem like everyone is either gay, bi, or transgender and just confused! I almost feel like the poor kids that are born either male or female and are not gay are labeled as "bigots" because they are not gay, bi, a cat, a dog or child's name is Zerg Loaf Potatoe Blue, and we are letting it choose it's gender when it's ready....and if it wants to dress like a devil fairy, we will support that! Just weird!

jec72579 jec72579

"Eye" - The reason you feel the way you do; that "everyone is either gay, bi, or transgender", is because of your intolerance, hatred, and bigotry. Have you ever noticed that when you hate something, you see it everywhere, and it just seems to be right there, where ever you turn? There you go. Now, if you had a little more tolerance, and were a little less close-minded, you'd see that your viewpoint - it's not them - it's YOU

nonmember avatar Reanne

@Eyeroll: Do your homework. Binary sex does not exsist. There is a fairly large gray area that unfortunatly is referred to as "defective" by folks like you who don't think before they type. Bigots are called such because they are cogs in the wheel of oppression, spout hatred and anti-everything speech without ever bothering to check their facts. People who are cisgender(people who feel at home with their assigned-at-birth-sex) are not bigots unless they display the aforementioned behaviors. People who are accepting of their fellow humans generally don't call/imply participants of hetero-normative society are bigots for no reason. If you feel like people think you're a bigot, there must be a reason. 

nonmember avatar 4kids2dogs

I'm very happy for the transgender community this is a big win for those born with mixed genitals. However, I worry that this is also a win for the whack jobs that want to turn their children into little social experiments. I hope that this new privilege isn't abused because it will really help the overall mental health of a child and the parents during those confusing younger years when a transgender child has not yet identified with a gender.

JessL... JessLogansMommy

I don't think its a bad option as long as its only used for babies with ambiguous genitalia.  It would help keep parents from making hasty decisions about corrective surgery and allow them to make well informed choices.  Only for these extreme circumstances though, not for parents who don't want to "label" their child.  If you have a penis or vagina you are either male or female. 

Freela Freela

It makes sense to use this with babies with ambiguous genitalia.  There have been a lot of cases where parents have been pushed to 'choose a sex' when the child was an infant, only to find that the child was not happy with the decision that had been made down the road.  In some cases, serious damage was done, both physical and emotional.  In those cases, I think it is best to leave the genitalia alone until the child can have input, which is the reason why 'intersexed' would be an option for their birth certificate.  They're not doing this to allow parents to 'opt out' of gender, but for the roughtly 1 in 2000 births where gender isn't immediately able to be determined.

nonmember avatar Female

I think this is too accommodating for those who are born male or female. I can see it more for those with mixed genitalia. For you to assume your child to be one day transgender is too assuming. Whatever the child is when he/she is born is who they are if only temporary.

mrsbovee mrsbovee

When I first read the title I was assuming this was going to be an article about those parents that don't promote gender stereotypes (good) to the extreme (bad). Happily mistaken. This is a good thing.

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