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California May Add Gender Category 'X' to State IDs. Good—Your Gender Isn't the Government's Business.

A no-gender option on state-issued documents is a very libertarian step.

Rick Madonik/ZUMA Press/NewscomRick Madonik/ZUMA Press/NewscomCalifornia is poised to become the second American state to allow for a gender category "X" on state-issued documents such as driver's licenses. (Oregon became the first this past June.) The California change—which would go further than Oregon's by allowing "X" instead of "M" or "F" on birth certificates and other forms of official ID, not just licenses—was approved by the state legislature and now awaits the governor's approval.

The new non-binary category is being heralded—and slammed—as part of the growing U.S. movement for transgender rights and the recognition that many people don't fit comfortably into the gender roles and traits typically assigned to their sex. The latter has given rise to the growth of gender-neutral pronouns (they, ze) and self-descriptions (genderfluid, genderqueer, non-binary) among Americans, especially younger ones.

Libertarians—even those just fine with the gender binary and their place in it—should celebrate the change. It allows people more choice about how to define themselves in a way that is noncoercive and decreases government control.

Should D.C. ever give residents the option to essentially delist their sex/gender from their driver's license, I would do it. (At least, you know, the next time my license is up for renewal or if there was some sort of online option; I'm not crazy enough to subject myself to the Department of Motor Vehicles any more than necessary.) And I would hope anarchist, libertarian, and limited-government-supporting types of any sex or gender might do the same.

There is no good reason the state, its representatives, and the countless people tasked with checking IDs for one reason or another need to know every individual's gender or sex.

In Beyond Trans (which I reviewed in Reason's August/September issue), Heath Fogg Davis details the many objections people raise to this, then obliterates each one. For each purpose in which a need for sex/gender identification is assumed, Davis reveals a surveillance-state mindset, a status-quo prejudice, or social conservatism at the root—not a legitimate government purpose.

The bottom line for driver's licenses and the kinds of IDs we deal with on a daily basis is the old adage: A picture is worth 1,000 words. Whether someone identifies as male, female, or X doesn't matter so long as the photo on their ID looks like they do in person. Bouncers don't look to see if you're male or female; they check your age and photo. Airport agents check your photo and name. And so on.

Adding an X designation to state-issued IDs doesn't threaten to destroy gender as we know it, but it does say that it's none of the state's business—a rare decollectivizing move from politicians.

Davis doesn't think that this goes far enough: it "neither dismantles nor significantly challenges the bureaucratic use of the traditional sex binary," argues Beyond Trans. "These policies create exceptional categories." Rather than give people the option to choose "X" or some other non-binary designation, Davis encourages the removal of sex- or gender-identification markers from government-issued IDs and documents more broadly—a step fitting of the fact that "a person's sex classification is irrelevant to most public transactions."

There's a lot of interesting material for libertarians in Davis' arguments, or "for anyone interested in privacy, individualism, and striking a blow against needless bureaucracy," as I wrote in my review:

Davis situates the struggle for transgender dignity and rights squarely within a larger framework of personal freedom and privacy concerns, and shows how removing institutional barriers to living beyond the gender binary can help everyone live fuller, freer lives.

California and Oregon's "X" designation might not live up to this lofty goal, but they are a big move in the right direction.

Photo Credit: Rick Madonik/ZUMA Press/Newscom

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  • Citizen X - #6||

    They're gonna screw it up by mandating that everyone be called Beverly.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Or Leslie. Or Chris.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Or Pat.

    I'd be down for Ashley. More men need that name.

  • Drave Robber||

    Fine as long as they don't call me Shirley.

  • Whorton||

    Surely, you can't mean that!. . .

  • GeoffB1972||

    Is this a Dilbert reference?

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Libertarians—even those just fine with the gender binary and their place in it—should celebrate the change. It allows people more choice about how to define themselves in a way that is noncoercive and decreases government control.

    Is there no end to this idiocy?

    The purpose of an ID is to provide proof that the person carrying it is who they say they are. It is not a canvas upon which one flerking expresses one's inner self and one's hopes, dreams, and fears. It is useless if it is not tied to objective reality.

    Should people be able to choose the height, weight, eye color, and date of birth on their drivers licenses too? What makes gender so special that they should be allowed to choose how it is listed?

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    You are what the government says you are.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    There is a difference between recognizing that objective truth exists and insisting the government is always right.

    Indeed, the pushers of the latter belief nearly always attack the former belief. A government that can force you to believe that a man is actually a woman, or that "gender doesn't exist", while simultaneously "misstating someone's gender (which doesn't exist) is a horrible crime", can force you to believe any self-contradictory sludge that issues from their propaganda organs. That's some 1984 shit right there and so-called "libertarians" are cheering it on, even at the expense of trampling FOA.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Or, government could give people the choice to select gender on the IDs they issue.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Which renders the ID less useful for its purpose.

    I can see arguing with you is going to be like nailing jello to a wall as you're going back to a position that I've already refuted.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    Every time I buy beer, someone looks down my pants to verify my ID.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    You don't know what gender someone is unless you look down their pants?

    Your dating life must be eventful.

  • Sevo||

    "Which renders the ID less useful for its purpose."

    Shorter L (stuff) E
    "Papiers, bitte!

  • BYODB||

    It's a retarded argument. You still need your government issued papers, that part isn't going away.


    This fails on the simple argument presented, in that the drivers license isn't asking you about your gender role it's asking you what your sex is. Thanks, far left idiots, for getting your own arguments wrong.


    If that particular field isn't useful, and there are arguments that indicate it is, than get rid of it. Don't keep the stupid ass field, change it to something absolutely non-identifying, and then claim 'Libertarian victory' when you're clubbed by some zealous agent of the state for appearing to have a stolen license.


    Stupid is as stupid does.

  • Juice||

    *papieren

  • GeneralWeygand||

    Sehr schon!!!

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    You didn't refute it, you only begged the question.

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    Adding an X designation to state-issued IDs doesn't threaten to destroy gender as we know it, but it does say that it's none of the state's business
    And from the article:

    Overall, Davis wants to remove sex- or gender-identifying markers from virtually all government-issued IDs and documents. This step "would help to bring about substantial cultural reform, as it would send a strong message to all of us that a person's sex classification is irrelevant to most public transactions."

    Your gender is none of the government's business.

  • Rhywun||

    Your gender is none of the government's business.

    Agreed, even as I think remnoving it from government documents won't "bring about substantial cultural reform" (whatever that is) in the slightest.

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    even as I think remnoving it from government documents won't "bring about substantial cultural reform" (whatever that is) in the slightest.

    Right - that section is a stretch.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    They already have. 5 years ago male and female bathrooms and locker rooms, and the laws that enforced them, weren't even questioned. Now it's a cause celebre that big corporations and sports leagues will boycott any jurisdiction that does so.

  • BYODB||

    Of course, they say they want it removed but ultimately what happens? They keep it, they just make it even less valuable than it was originally.


    Yep, that's government!

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Agreed, even as I think remnoving it from government documents won't "bring about substantial cultural reform" (whatever that is) in the slightest.

    It might. Imagine how difficult it would be to hand out goodies like low-interest business loans and women-owned business loans based on gender if government isn't allowed to determine in a legal way your gender.

    This is why as a libertarian I love the non-binary gender issue.

  • BYODB||


    It might. Imagine how difficult it would be to hand out goodies like low-interest business loans and women-owned business loans based on gender if government isn't allowed to determine in a legal way your gender.

    Now that I absolutely agree with. Somewhat ironically, this issue is one that explodes some of the more loathsome aspects of the Progressive movement and tangentially race-based movements as well.

    I'm not sure it's worth the destruction of objective reality for the benefits, but maybe it's worth a try. I don't think we're at a point yet where my male Irish ass can objectively claim to be a black woman for legal purposes though.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Now that I absolutely agree with. Somewhat ironically, this issue is one that explodes some of the more loathsome aspects of the Progressive movement and tangentially race-based movements as well.

    When this whole gender thing started to rear its head about two years ago, I suggested that it had the potential to blow identity politics and the state structures of that out of the water.

    My honest guess is, the second the left sees the process fold in on itself, they'll immediately lunge for state certification of new gender types like they do in Ireland. You wait, the left is going to demand pink stars of David, and they're going to call that enlightened policy.

  • Azathoth!!||

    It might. Imagine how difficult it would be to hand out goodies like low-interest business loans and women-owned business loans based on gender if government isn't allowed to determine in a legal way your gender

    It might, if it removed the M/F checkoff.

    But that's not what it does.

    It creates a third checkoff--meaning it's even easier to target government largesse at the 'oppressed'

    The non-binary gender issue doesn't eliminate gender--it granularizes it into ever smaller and more specifiv grievance groups.

  • GeoffB1972||

    Which is why, as a Californian, I'm going to change to "X," sign up for "X"s who code and sue Google for gender discrimination if they don't hire me when I finish the boot camp.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Your skin should crawl when a government is acting "to bring about substantial cultural reform". Totalitarianism has no friends as good as cosmotarians, it seems. Good heavens, the statist urge to use laws to "send a strong message" used to be something that libertarians mocked!

    What about your height, weight, eye color and date of birth? Should you be able to choose those too? Only the DOB is relevant to any "public transactions". Even then, choosing a later DOB would not interfere with alcohol/tobacco law enforcement, so why not let people choose that too (so long as it's later than their real DOB).

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    Only the DOB is relevant to any "public transactions".

    Okay, then what does my gender have to do with anything?

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Knowing what gender a person is helps to identify them.

    Same as height, weight, eye color, date of birth.

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    Knowing what gender a person is helps to identify them.

    Why does the government have to identify me?

  • Don't look at me.||

    Which jail cell to throw you into?

  • ||

    Knowing what gender a person is helps to identify them.

    There are also contracts that are relevant to only one gender (and are conditionally or de jure banned in some states). The idea that this is or could be some manner of victorious blow for liberty is retarded. The state mandated healthcare system will know whether you need your subsidized public birth control and annual checkups or not.

    This whole movement is a rather obvious sleight-of-hand.

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    The state mandated healthcare system will know whether you need your subsidized public birth control and annual checkups or not.

    So the DMV should have access to your medical records?

  • ||

    So the DMV should have access to your medical records?

    The DMV isn't in charge of enforcement. They do vanity plates. You'd better believe the police will have access to your medical records, yes.

    When your closely-held religious employer offers you one type of birth control and not another do they get to find out what gender you are? Why not just compel them to offer you birth control for both genders just to maintain the charade? You can't see a problem with that, right?

  • Overt||

    This is stretching the bounds of hyperbole. First of all, no one seems to have any problem with IDs today despite the fact that hair color, eye color, height and weight are regularly mis-declared on the id. People have been self-identifying their weight for decades, and it hasn't seemed to wreck things.

    As someone who has checked countless IDs for business reasons, sex is low, low, low on the list of ID attributes. If you were to quantify the attributes of an ID used today to verify your identity, you would see around 80% affinity to the photo, and 19.99999% affinity to the ID's security/validation features (watermarks, second picture, etc).

  • CatoTheChipper||

    I identify as a 6'2" 135# Asian woman, age 27.

    The fact that I'm a 5'10" 210# Caucasian man, age 59, is irrelevant.

    My driver's license and other state-issued identification documents are aspirational. Why does the state deny me my aspirations?

  • The Last American Hero||

    So when you're on the LAM they can issue an accurate description on the APB?

  • EscherEnigma||

    Well, in some states, it makes it a crime to use some bathrooms.

  • WakaWaka||

    And in some states and localities it's a crime to call someone the wrong pronoun or have your own bathroom policies in your own business.

  • WakaWaka||

    It's going to be super 'libertarian' when the government starts building new prisons to accommodate 'X gender'. None of this has to do with shrinking government, it's just stupid culture war issues which are the only thing cosmotarians care about.

  • ||

    the statist urge to use laws to "send a strong message" used to be something that libertarians mocked!

    Likewise the statist urge to have everyone carry government-issued ID cards with meticulously accurate and up-to-the-minute identifying information for the convenience of state regulators and enforcers.

  • GroundTruth||

    Nor is your ID.

    While we're at it, let's go full libertarian and get governments out of the ID business altogether. Not just out of the business of issuing them, but of requiring them, for anything. I am who I say I am, that's a first principle of integrity. Devil in the details is not what I'm talking about, personal responsibility is.

  • Sevo||

    "There is a difference between recognizing that objective truth exists and insisting the government is always right."

    You're correct. But if someone with dark hair bleaches it, they can call themselves 'blonde' and I don't care.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    If you bleach your hair, it really does become blond.

    That's not how gender works.

  • Sevo||

    "That's not how gender works."
    So what?
    I'm just happy they're making you blow your wad.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    As if I have only one.

  • John||

    You are what your genes say you are. I can say I am a crocodile all I want, but that won't make me one. There is no such thing as "Gender X". And there will not be until someone manages to create a new form of the species.

    So, it is not so much that you are what the government says you are. It is that you are not what you are because you say so. Sorry but that is just how it works. And no amount of pretending is going to change it.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    Every time I fly, someone sequences my DNA to verify my ID.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Right, because without sequencing your DNA, nobody can recognize any genetic characteristics.

  • ||

    Every time I fly, someone sequences my DNA to verify my ID.

    Really? I carry a card with my photo, height, weight, and gender on it. It's much faster and easier.

    I suppose we could corrode the standards by which the cards were generated or otherwise undermine how much faith people could have in the information, but then we'd have to rely on shittier more invasive identification methods like the one you describe.

  • John||

    They do. It is called looking at your picture and confirming it is you, you half wit.

  • BYODB||

    Yep. There's a pretty damn good argument that the only thing that should be 'required' on an ID, if you're going to have an ID at all, is a photograph. Mostly because those agents of the state who would be checking it probably can't read beyond a 7th grade level.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    The irony is that these so-called libertarians are ENDORSING an effort by government to "change the culture" and force people into a certain set of beliefs. Then they have the gall to imply that I'm a statist for saying the govt should stick to recognizing objective reality!

  • chemjeff||

    "force people into a certain set of beliefs force people into a certain set of beliefs"

    No one is forcing you to call a man a woman, or a woman a man.

    No one is forcing you to acknowledge Gender X as a real gender.

    No one is forcing you to call Bruce Caitlyn, or to call Caitlyn Bruce.

  • chemjeff||

    Oops, quotation copy/paste fail.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Baloney.

    If I'm a photographer, in many jurisdictions I can't refuse to service a "women's basketball" game in which most of the players are men, lest I run afoul of discrimination laws.

    If I'm a restauranteur, in many jurisdictions I can't enact a policy that only men can use the men's room and only women can use the women's room. That's what the whole NC bathroom kerfuffle was about, remember? The one where Reason and it's mancrush Johnson came down against free association?

  • chemjeff||

    Gender discrimination laws aside, if you are a photographer and you photograph players at a "women's" basketball game where the players actually have the birth gender of male, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from referring to those players as men.

    "If I'm a restauranteur, in many jurisdictions I can't enact a policy that only men can use the men's room and only women can use the women's room. "

    That's right. You can't force them to conform to your beliefs, and they can't force you to conform to their beliefs.

  • chemjeff||

    Let me put it this way.

    I would be against a law that mandates businesses to force customers to only use the restrooms of their biological gender.

    I would also be against a law that mandates businesses to only have unisex restrooms.

  • The Last American Hero||

    What about showers? You want your 15 year old daughter to have to share a shower with Anthony Weiner because he chooses to identify as a lesbian?

  • chemjeff||

    There are plenty of places that I would not want to take my hypothetical 15-year-old daughter. For instance, I would not want to take her to a strip club. But I don't demand that strip clubs close up shop for the sake of my daughter, or to try to compensate for my lack of parenting abilities. Similarly, if a particular gym had such loose policies and loose supervision on their locker rooms such that I thought there was a reasonable chance that my daughter would be sexually assaulted at such a place, then I would not take her there. And if a particular establishment really is negligent in stopping sexual predation at their place then I have the basis of a lawsuit. But I am not going to advocate coercing private establishments into using their property in a way that they don't want to, out of a vague fear of sexual assault that has minimal basis in reality.

  • retiredfire||

    Do you consider it sexual assault for a grown man to expose his genitals to your hypothetical daughter in a shower room? How about if he starts waving his dick at her, or begins to masturbate, but makes no contact? How about if it is done on the street?
    The problem is that society has developed some cultural norms of modesty, that seem to be the object of elimination by "progressives". The identification of people by what sex they are is one of them, but it is known that it will go further. One of those societal norms is the age of consent, which was much lower, when it was applied to younger girls being married, but marriage has been redefined and one has to be concerned that those, really too young to appreciate the consequences of engaging in sexual activity, will become able to be victimized.
    There are already laws requiring even the youngest of girls to be free to seek out an abortion, without there being any effort to ascertain the situation of the pregnancy, with actual prohibition of parents being informed.
    This slippery slope will end badly for many vulnerable girls, unable to protect themselves.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Would you be against a law that says that a city cannot issue bathroom mandates at all? Of any type?

  • chemjeff||

    Absent some extenuating circumstance, I would be fine with a limitation on a city's power to engage in coercive behavior against establishments, regardless of the nature of the coercion.

  • damikesc||

    No one is forcing you to call a man a woman, or a woman a man.

    Several states are working on that as we speak.

  • chemjeff||

    Well if and when that comes to pass, I would object to that as well.

    If you want to call Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner a man, woman, hedgehog, armadillo, chicken, ocelot, or whatever you want, you should be perfectly free to do so.

  • Tony||

    But it would be rude to call her something she doesn't want to be called (at least to her face).

  • BYODB||

    Her indicates a sex, really they should probably be called 'it' although last I checked Bruce still liked to bang chicks. Classic case of a Lesbian trapped in a man's body.

  • chemjeff||

    Sure it would be rude. But it shouldn't be illegal. And no one is arguing that anyone should be FORCED to call Bruce/Caitlyn according to his/her current gender.

  • BYODB||

    Tell you what, I prefer to be called 'Master of the Universe' and it's frankly insulting when you don't.

    Does that dog hunt?

  • chemjeff||

    You are completely free to take offense at whatever you like.

  • retiredfire||

    It is also rude to remind someone that they are mentally ill. It doesn't mean we should pander to their delusions.
    If someone said they believed themselves to be Jesus Christ, would you call the Son of God?

  • retiredfire||

    ...call them the Son of God?
    Damn unable-to-edit Reason comments!

  • WakaWaka||

    But they are. In some states and localities it is a crime to call people by the wrong pronoun. You can believe anything you want about this issue, but people shouldn't be allowed to lie and falsely proclaim that any of this, whatsoever, has anything to do with shrinking the size and scope of the state. If anything, it's expanding state authority.

  • chemjeff||

    "In some states and localities it is a crime to call people by the wrong pronoun."

    Then the problem is the state coercion attempting to police people's speech, regardless of the content of that speech.

  • EscherEnigma||

    "Then they have the gall to imply that I'm a statist for saying the govt should stick to recognizing objective reality!"
    No, they're calling you a statist that the government should recognize characteristics that are irrelevant to legitimate government functions.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    So you're OK with removing height, weight, eye color, and DOB from licenses also?

  • Tony||

    What does DNA have to do with the types of clothes you wear, what pronouns you use, and what surgery you have?

  • BYODB||

    Oh, Tony, you sad sack. Now you're lumping Transvestites in with Transsexuals? How insulting.

  • Tony||

    I'd ask what DNA has to do with how one perceives one's gender, but that's probably too complex a question for this forum.

  • BYODB||

    Probably, since it's too complex of a problem for genetic science itself at this point. It's a question without an empirical answer.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Driver's licenses identify sex. I thought sex and gender were supposed to be independent if each other?

  • Microaggressor||

    Our DNA invokes this thing called sexual dimorphism, which means males and females have significant differences on average regarding physical form and yes, behavior too. I know this is anathema to your Marxist worldview but you look silly calling people science deniers when your position is predicated on denial of evolutionary psychology, simply because the science undermines the class oppression hypothesis (or religious faith, whatever you want to call it).

  • Tony||

    Science has absolutely nothing to say with how culture interprets things like sex. Not all cultures have had only two genders. You're being pig-headed and conservative and trying to recruit science to justify that.

  • Microaggressor||

    Nobody was talking about culture. Science has a lot to say about DNA though. But it looks like you'd rather change the subject.

  • retiredfire||

    Having a perception that is contrary to objective circumstances is called delusion. It is a form of mental illness, especially when taken to the level of acting on that delusion.
    It is cruel to allow people to continue in a delusional state instead of desiring that they seek the mental help they require. It is worse to pander to it.

  • GeoffB1972||

    To the contrary, pretending is changing it.

  • Ken Hagler||

    Maybe it's different where you live, but in my experience (in California and Texas) people can put anything they want for height, weight, and eye color. The bureaucrats only care about your date of birth.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Yep. It's not as if the clerk at the DMV got out of her booth to inspect my eye color, or had me line up next to height markings.

    And obviously I lied about my weight.

  • Hugh Akston||

    MJG has been working out for years, but still can't break into the three digit weight class.

  • BambiB||

    Good point.

    What business is it of the government's what my NAME is, or address - or age?

    So, once they remove gender, height, weight, eye color, date of birth, name and address - then we'll have the "perfect" drivers license.

  • GeoffB1972||

    The other day, we were on-boarding a new employee who defined to specify her race. A pop-up asked us to fill in our best guess for her and would not let us proceed till we had guessed at a race. Had she said she was a different race than what she appeared to be, though, I think that would have been it. If this is the way the game is played, conservatives should stop complaining and start identifying as racial minorities with gender X just to mess with the statistics.

  • Ron||

    I can see it now when the EMTs arrive at the traffic accident and the victim looks pregnant. today they can look at the license and know if its a man with a beer gut or a pregnant woman and know how to treat the victim but in the future they will have to pull the victims pants down to know what the story is. There is a reason for knowing gender and those who deny gender are just denying science. No matter how many operation a person has they will always be one or the other. some things we must accept.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Pulling the pants down (or, easier, copping a feel) sounds easier than digging for an ID (in the hopes that it's still legible).

  • Hail Rataxes||

    As every EMT knows, all overweight women are pregnant.

  • Ron||

    I've meet several men and woman who looked like they were pregnant which is often different then overall fat.

  • Sevo||

    "I've meet several men and woman who looked like they were pregnant which is often different then overall fat."

    OK, I'm sure that makes good conversation over a beer.
    So what?

  • BYODB||

    You haven't lived until you've worked in an Emergency room and watched four or five EMT's and some security guards haul an 800lbs...woman?...out of an ambulance onto a make-shift tarp.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    This is the first salvo in the war between humans and mutants.

  • FreeRadical||

    the recognition that many people don't fit comfortably into the gender roles and traits typically assigned to their sex

    I've always been genuinely curious about how many is "many". Not that the percentage of number matters. But I still sometimes wonder about how many people the gender wars are being fought over. I also sometimes wonder if this is a "fad" and if that causes an overstatement of the issue.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    It's going to be higher in the future.

    When I was in first grade, they had a fireman come in to teach us about stop drop and roll. Seeing the respect he was afforded, and the cool clothes and truck that he drove, I wanted to be a fireman when I grew up. Luckily, the fire department didn't sign me to a binding contract, so when that phase passed there was no permanent effect.

    Nowadays, when schools bring in transgender people to talk to the children about gender fluidity, and the teachers and principals bow and scrape before them for their diversity, some kids are doing the same imitative thing, thinking they want to be trans. Unfortunately the schools and government are perfectly capable of locking that decision in with surgery and hormone blockers, so it's not just a phase, but something that will be permanent.

    Then the leftists, and their libertarian useful idiots, will decry the low fertility rate even more and demand even more third world immigration to fill the gap left by our spayed and neutered next generation of Americans.

  • FreeRadical||

    Yes, my heart breaks when I hear of elementary or middle-school aged children getting hormones and going through "gender transformation".

  • Overt||

    I can agree with this, even though it is tangential to the subject of this article.

    My company is currently rolling out a "Gender Dysphoria" diversity campaign, which includes (among other things) slapping posters up in bathroom stalls, explaining the subject. Those posters boldly claim that the only treatment for gender dysphoria is transition surgery. This is all, of course, a big move to get public support behind requiring insurance to cover transition surgery.

    It is also a big lie. Almost all medical professionals as recently as a decade ago agreed that as a child goes through puberty, they have a good likelihood of their dysphoria going away. And, there are plenty of treatments that don't include going under a knife.

    Whenever your mind can't deal with your body, it causes problems (depression, suicide, drug use). That happens whether you feel you are the wrong gender, too fat, too short or too white. This demand that we change the body to placate the mind is wrong headed, and is yet another attempt to apply a blanket solution for problems that are distinctly personal and varied by each individual.

    That has nothing to do with whether the government should record your biological sex vs your gender identity. But it is something that people interested in securing liberty away from cultural big government solutions should be wary of.

  • BYODB||

    It's pretty difficult to be 'for' children undergoing transitions while also being against Islamic genital mutilation, I've found.

  • Vernon Depner||

    The country with the highest rate of sex reassignment surgery is Iran.

  • BYODB||

    That tends to happen when it's mandatory for perceived deviants. The truly sad thing is that's actually pretty open minded of them from a fundamentalist point of view.

  • Vernon Depner||

    No, actually, it's very traditional. Modern medicine has updated how it's done, but boys being girls, and facilitating boys being girls with castration, has a long and vital history in that part of the world.

  • BYODB||

    Well yeah, but that's true the world over. Castration has a long and storied history even in European culture.

  • Rhywun||

    schools bring in transgender people to talk to the children about gender fluidity

    I've heard of one or two isolated incidences of stuff like that but I doubt it's an ordinary occurrence.

  • BYODB||

    I do as well, for the simple fact there aren't enough of 'them' to go talk to schools.


    Especially since, if the internet is any indicator, most of them appear to work in porn. Or at least, perhaps, the most visible one's?


    *don's his Huge Heffner hat in remembrance*

  • EscherEnigma||

    In America, it's (probably) a few million. Which in percentages isn't a lot, sure. But y'know, still millions of people.

    As for being a "fad", there's two parts.

    The media attention? That's probably a fad. Folks really started talking publicly about trans issues around the time that Caitlyn Jenner went public, and then it started making national political news following Obergefel v. Hodges, when conservatives needed a new wedge issue†..

    But trans folk themselves? Well, we have trans folk, under various names and terms, for a really long time, predating the term. Many other cultures have/had distinct terms and social roles for folks that don't work with the gender binary. So not a modern or American issue, but a world-wide one that's been with us as long as we've been paying attention.
    ________
    †Seriously, you can find local/state level stuff regarding trans rights for decades, but it didn't really make national news. Until recently, when Republicans started making a national topic of opposing local laws.

  • BYODB||

    As long as we're creating special rights for a delusion that occurs in an unknown fraction of the populace, why stop at this delusion in particular? Personally, I think people with multiple personality disorder should be allowed to carry multiple licenses, one for each personality.

  • Tony||

    You've chosen to be an asshole instead of introspective. Why do you need the world to be more simple than it actually is? Why not work on yourself and your own flaws, such as intolerance?

  • BYODB||

    I'm not the one that says that gender identity is separate from sex, but then turns around and says that the sex field on the drivers license should be changed to reflect a 'Gender X'. Arguably, perhaps they aren't either and the government is doing what's 'best' for them against their will or at least separate from their wishes. That seems more likely.

    Which is it? Is sex separate from gender, or are gender and sex the same thing? Government clearly doesn't know, so perhaps someone should clue them in.

  • Tony||

    Biological sex and gender identity are not the same thing. They often coincide but not always.

  • BYODB||

    So if biological sex and gender identify are not the same thing, which is indeed the argument presented, then why is it logical to change the sex field on one's ID card when it isn't asking what social role you feel like?

    This is an absolutely honest question, I'm not trying to be a dick this time. It's just obvious that the government 'doesn't get it' here based on the arguments that I do, in fact, understand regarding transsexuals.

  • Tony||

    Since transgender people often try to present as their preferred gender, it would seem to make sense that identification papers reflect their identity rather than what they were assigned at birth.

  • BYODB||

    So basically you want it both ways, that's about as expected.

    So gender is both sex and gender roles depending on what you need to win the argument. Glad to know you haven't given up your day job of moving goal posts around.

  • Tony||

    I'm not fond of the way language has been bent out of shape for this cause. When I was younger, gender referred to words, not people. But this isn't as hard to understand as you're making it out to be. You appear to have your head up your ass. And how are doctors supposed to identify your sex in that condition?

  • BYODB||

    Gender has always had a sex-based meaning, in both language and it's actual independent definition, until some 'right-thinkers' decided to be intellectually lazy and debase a word with a known meaning with some other concept layered on top of it. This isn't the fault of anyone except idiotic intellectuals who were actively trying to be intellectually dishonest.

    My head isn't up my own ass, the arguments presented by people in favor of this stuff are just bad and/or inconsistent arguments. You want to help these people? Find a treatment, or even better yet just leave them the hell alone and stop trying to legislate around them.

  • FreeRadical||

    Stop trying to legislate around them?? That's funny.

    For many activists working this area, it's just virtue signalling all the way down. The best way to signal virtue: use government to force people to be virtuous.

  • Tony||

    Chair has a female gender in french. Do chairs have vaginas?

  • BYODB||

    Is 'Gender' a French word? That would be news to me.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Doctors have no ability or right to identify your sex. Only you do.

    /Progtard

  • Mickey Rat||

    With the possible exception of people with sex chromosome abnormalities, no one is assigned their sex. Their sex is observed and noted.

  • Tony||

    I've personally known maybe 15 people who were actively transgender, and I don't mean I visited a transgender support group and made friends. From people I see at the bar to a gamer friend to a coworker to the middle-school-aged child of a friend. They're all over the place.

  • FreeRadical||

    I suspect given your path in life, you may have encountered more transgender people than the "norm".

    Regardless, anecdotes are not data. It would probably be difficult to do research on this topic. I suspect there are estimates out there, I haven't googled at all.

  • Azathoth!!||

    'Many' is more than three.

    Two are a couple, three are a few, many is more than that--but less than half.

    In truth very very very very very very very very few people don't fit comfortably into the gender roles and traits assigned to their sex. So many 'fews' allow you to say 'many' because it would be devastatingly obvious what was actually going on if they were forced to say that the concepts of private property and freedom of association, speech and no forced conscription are all being thrown out so less than half of one percent of the population can supposedly feel better about themselves by virtue of SJW screeching.

  • ||

    Libertarians—even those just fine with the gender binary and their place in it—should celebrate the change. It allows people more choice about how to define themselves in a way that is noncoercive and decreases government control.

    This would be awesome if it weren't such a blatant falsehood (bordering on a lie). A third category is being added and it's not being added at no cost. Why would the State of California care about what gender you are if they've got a picture, can find your relationship status on Facebook, and can sift through emails and metadata to figure out who you're associating with? I mean, hell, Target and Amazon have already outed teens to their parents accidentally. The notion that an 'X' on your driver's license is anything other than a fashion accessory or meaningless gesture like the 'libertarian tip' is pretty egoistic.

  • Overt||

    I for one can't wait until the government has no ability to determine which sex you are. Imagine all the SJWs whose "thought provoking studies" conclude, "Men are paid 2% more than women for the same work, but 20% less than Other. In total, men represent 5% of the population, women 10%, and Other represented 85%".

    Rather than sit and rail against this nonsense, people- especially folks who think gender identity is made up- should move in droves to remove this data attribute from the data sources that push all sorts of stupid shit.

    In fact, we should double down and demand that the government remove Race and Ethnicity from their records as well. Muahhahahaha. It will be fantastic.

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    In fact, we should double down and demand that the government remove Race and Ethnicity from their records as well. Muahhahahaha. It will be fantastic.

    I don't see the problem with that.

  • Rhywun||

    Xe does raise a good point - how is the government going to dole out party favors if it can't pigeonhole you? Maybe folks haven't thought this initiative all the way through.

  • ||

    I don't see the problem with that.

    Finally! The Nazis will have killed 12 million other random Germans/Europeans and white nationalism will be able to go back to being just like any other regionalism/nationalism.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    They're not removing shit from THEIR records. This only affects the card you carry with you.

  • Number 2||

    "For each purpose in which a need for sex/gender identification is assumed, Davis reveals a surveillance-state mindset, a status-quo prejudice, or social conservatism at the root."

    I see. It's all prejudice and social conservatism. Millions of years of evolution, in which every living creature more complex than a protozoa is divided into one of two sexes, has absolutely nothing to do with it.

    People have the liberty to identify, behave, dress, or act anyway they like. They even have the liberty to re-construct their own bodies anyway they like. What they cannot do is assert that biological facts are mere social constructs or something that a vital statistics clerk arbitrarily "assigned" to us, as if our genitalia were dealer-installed options.

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    People have the liberty to identify, behave, dress, or act anyway they like. They even have the liberty to re-construct their own bodies anyway they like

    Yep.

    What they cannot do is assert that biological facts are mere social constructs or something that a vital statistics clerk arbitrarily "assigned" to us, as if our genitalia were dealer-installed options.

    Which has what to do with the government's knowledge of your gender?

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Please stop with the "govt knowledge of your gender" canard. You can be sure that the government knows what your gender actually is regardless of what fantasy you wanted on your DL.

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    You can be sure that the government knows what your gender actually is regardless of what fantasy you wanted on your DL.

    How comforting! I wonder what else the government knows about me?

  • Rhywun||

    I wonder what else the government knows about me?

    Almost everything?

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    How fun!

  • BYODB||

    If it's any consolation I'm pretty sure you've driven at least a dozen FBI agents and a handful of NSA contractors into drugs and alcoholism with your browser history.

    Crusty - Fighting the good fight!

  • Mickey Rat||

    Driver's licenses and other IDs do not give information about your gender, they have information about your sex. At least until CA makes this change, which could be information about either.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    What they cannot do is assert that biological facts are mere social constructs or something that a vital statistics clerk arbitrarily "assigned" to us, as if our genitalia were dealer-installed options.

    Sure they can! That's what an assertion is!

  • Hugh Akston||

    Totally getting this when my license comes up for renewal.

  • BYODB||

    Except that the drivers license identifier isn't for what 'gender role' you prefer, it's an indicator of your sex. So even on the questionable argument presented, it fails.


    Boy, this really makes me feel like I'm taking crazy pills.


    What would be Libertarian is no ID at all, so calling a 'gender x' Libertarian when you're still talking about a state issued identification card is pretty retarded. That's about what I've come to expect from KMW, though, along with the other young writers for this publication.

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    What would be Libertarian is no ID at all,

    For the 900th time, Libertarian does not equal libertarian, but other than that, you are correct.

  • BYODB||

    I like to capitalize, so sue me! ^_^


    The only thing that really bothers me about the whole thing is that it's being declared a great thing for liberty, and perhaps is some sense it is, but the underlying problem that we should have with identification isn't at all addressed. It's just a stupid thing that a stupid state is doing for stupid reasons, and those reasons don't even address the arguments presented by Transgenders. (or should that not be capitalized either? Eh, don't care!

  • lap83||

    where do liB3rT4RianZ stand on the ID question?

  • Juice||

    She's not that young.

  • ||

    What would be Libertarian is no ID at all, so calling a 'gender x' Libertarian when you're still talking about a state issued identification card is pretty retarded.

    What would really be libertarian would be no state-mandated healthcare, social security, and domestic spying (and dronessassination program).

    If the state can generally know everything about you, tax, extraordinary rendition, and assassinate you entirely without a driver's license, the third option for the gender seems exceedingly superfluous. You might as well be arguing for/against the blue/pink/green/yellow gender coloring on the M/F/Other options (Those fucking conservative, team-red, faux-libertarians probably want to stick with black!).

  • chemjeff||

    The way I see it, the people who believe in non-binary genders are kinda like devout Catholics who believe that the Eucharist literally corresponds to the blood and body of Christ. Of course science says that a wafer and a glass of wine aren't the literal corporeal forms of a person who has been dead for 2000 years. But if they wish to persist in that belief, why should anyone stop them? They aren't harming anyone with their anti-science beliefs. IN FACT, government goes out of its way (or at least should) to give wide latitude to Catholics and other persons of religious faith for them to practice their anti-science beliefs. Personally, government ought to give wide latitude to anyone with any wacky belief on any subject, religious or not, gender-related or not. It's not the government's role to be the arbiter of truth or some enforcer of objective reality. If my height is 6'5" and I instruct the government to put 5'3" as my height on my official ID, then people will likely judge my ID as fraudulent and act accordingly. It's not the government's fault that I told it to put the wrong height on my ID, and it's not the government's job to try to measure my exact height. It's my responsibility, for purposes of identification, to make sure that the ID that I present won't be considered fraudulent for transactions where identity verification is important, and the government's only job in this process is to facilitate that process. No more, no less.

  • FreeRadical||

    I agree with this. Except I trip up when it comes to things like demanding that a transgender "girl" use the girls' bathrooms and locker rooms in a public high school.

    Or that a transgender "boy" taking performance-enhancing hormones be allowed to win the Texas state wrestling girls' championship in a particular weight class.

    Those real examples seem utterly absurd to me and definitely impose on other people.

  • chemjeff||

    Let each school or each sports competition decide for itself how it wants to deal with transgender issues.

    If the Texas state wrestling board wants to allow transgender boys to participate in girls' matches, then fine. If the Oklahoma state wrestling board wants to forbid it, then fine.

  • FreeRadical||

    That would be fine if those things you list were private associations. But right now, most of them are government organizations.

    In Texas, they specifically broke the rule about performance enhancing drugs due to some hand-waving about the motive for taking the drugs: that even though they enhanced performance, they weren't being taken for the purpose of enhancing performance and therefore they were ok. I suspect that wouldn't fly in other contexts.

  • WakaWaka||

    Fair enough. That's probably the best course of action. But, this stuff is being pushed federally. Local communities that pay for these schools are not being given an opportunity to reach a solution that works for everyone

  • The Last American Hero||

    Go look up transubstantiation some time. The Vatican does not and has never claimed that the chemical composition of the bread and wine changes during the Mass.

  • chemjeff||

    Okay then I apologize if I got trans-substantiation wrong. I'm not a Catholic (obviously) and I was trying to recall it from memory. But the point is that if people have wacky beliefs that contradict reality, then government really has no place to try to police those views.

  • Macy's Window||

    If Catholics claimed that the bread and wine changed physically into flesh and blood, then they would call it "transformation" and you'd be correct.

    Instead, Catholics claim that the substance of the bread and wine changes spiritually into Jesus' flesh and blood. There is no scientific test that can confirm or falsify this claim.

    I can conduct scientific tests to determine someone's sex, however.

  • GILMORE™||

    There is no good reason the state, its representatives, and the countless people tasked with checking IDs for one reason or another need to know every individual's gender or sex.

    The fact that the government is neck-deep in our healthcare system is actually a good reason.

    I'd prefer it weren't, obviously, but pretending that genderless-beings don't present any sort of complications for medical records is sort of... willfully ignorant? maybe there's a better term.

    Also, as i'm sure others have said above: why is it that in one breath, lefties will assert that gender and sex are different things, and then in the next, pretend they're not? ID has not hitherto captured "gender" at all; its described your biological sex. which, again, might be useful information if you're hit by a bus and have to get emergency medical care. Knowing what organs happen to be in your body without having to cut you open and check is .. convenient?

    no govt ID seems to me a more desirable libertarian goal than "biologically vaguer and mo'woke ID"

  • Tony||

    Think of all the people who go to ERs without any ID on them. If only doctors could figure out how to identify physiological features in some other way.

  • BYODB||

    Perhaps physiologically, which is also not reliable when talking about a group with a penchant for drastic surgery to hide their morphological features of sexual identify.

  • Tony||

    We don't make people confess to a tit implant on their IDs, and that could hypothetically cause a complication in the ER. Doctors and nurses are well trained for all sorts of things. Forcing a class of people to label themselves something they explicitly don't want to because of some hypothetical hospital mishap is a bit much don't you think?

  • BYODB||

    I don't really care, personally. If someone dies because they did something drastic to themselves surgically and they don't declare it that's on them. I'd also say their families can't sue for malpractice in such an instance either. Fair? I think so.

  • ||

    no govt ID seems to me a more desirable libertarian goal than "biologically vaguer and mo'woke ID"

    I would say, *precisely* except it doesn't quite capture the insanity of simultaneously acknowledging the IDs' failure to represent an entire human with 100% fidelity and then declaring it unlibertarian that the government-issued ID not strive harder or be more inclusive in doing so.

    Only when the totality of your consciousness can be captured, up to the minute, on a government ID will libertopia truly become obtainable.

  • GILMORE™||

    Libertarians...should celebrate

    or else?

  • Microaggressor||

    A religious cult whose reason to exist is to advance communism by putting a new mask on it - should be celebrated by libertarians.

    ENB needs an intervention. This is getting sad.

  • Tony||

    If you can't handle gender identity issues, libertarianism might not be for you. Telling people they must fill out government papers in a way that makes you personally feel comfortable is not exactly a live-and-let-live attitude.

  • BYODB||

    That moment when you accidentally make the argument against transgendered people without realizing it.

  • Microaggressor||

    What about those who don't identify as gender X? They are being FORCED to choose one of these options. The millions of remaining genders are being literally erased by this legislation. How can you stand up for this blatant oppression, Tony?

  • Kivlor||

    "Your Gender Isn't the Government's Business."

    Of course it is. Last I checked we still have sex segregated jails / prisons and for good reason. Of course, apparently we can't expect much "reason" from Reason these days.

  • Ron||

    or like the military since male and females have different requirements the military needs to know how many of which they have if everyone is X then they would have to have twice as much of everything. there is a real purpose to a world with opposite sexes and it starts with physics with positive and negative threw out the forming of the universe and its continual functioning.

  • Lord_at_War||

    Telling people they must fill out government papers in a way that makes you personally feel comfortable is not exactly a live-and-let-live attitude.

    Like my 1040 for the IRS? Maybe I can just put an "X" on every line...

  • FreedomIsBetterThanLiberty||

    Ridiculous. I don't care how much you hate the government. You're not allowed to invent a new gender!

    And the government CERTAINLY isn't allowed to invent a new gender!

  • Macy's Window||

    from the article: "Libertarians—even those just fine with the gender binary and their place in it—should celebrate the change. It allows people more choice about how to define themselves in a way that is noncoercive and decreases government control."

    That is really first-class satire of a libertarian position. I laughed and laughed when I read it.

    You are a bit unfair to libertarians though. They understand that the point of an ID to is identify the holder, not to allow the holder to "define themselves." That claim would be too absurd.

  • Whorton||

    Perhaps they need to change the NAME of the category from GENDER to CHROMOSOME CATEGORY. . .

    XX formerly known as women
    XY formerly known as Men
    XXY or YYZ for actual interstate sexed individual. (relatively rare)

    Identifiable without specifying what they want to call themselves on any given day. . .

  • Edwin||

    this matters because if you are burned to a crisp in either a car fire or a murder cover up (which could be dine with a car fire), your body isn't recognizable, and one of the few objectively determined things is sex as in XX or XY

    sex is an objective fact. if they want to stoke people's egos with an added "gender" component that's fine but it's extremely foolish to not have a sex demarcation on the ID

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