Let’s delete sex-identity from birth certificates

When we are asked to check a sex-identity box on a bureaucratic form, what definition of sex is being invoked and to what end? 

Eurovision Song Contest 2014 winner Conchita Wurst performs during the Stonewall gala in Berlin, Germany on June 20, 2014, a ceremony that rings in the Christopher Street Day CSD, a traditional LGBT event. (Photo: CLEMENS BILAN/AFP/Getty Images)

By the 20th week into a pregnancy, an ultrasound scan can be used to determine a baby’s sex and parents are given the option of learning this information, or waiting to hear ‘It’s a boy!’ or ‘It’s a girl!’ At birth, the delivering physician or midwife visually confirms and records the previewed sex identity on a birth certificate application form. Our governments have some good reasons for collecting and keeping sex identity information about us in the aggregate for the purposes of demographic studies, public health and affirmative-action measures. But the sex markers on state-issued birth certificates are not necessary for these goals. In fact, a government has no business collecting information about our personal sex identities at birth, or keeping track of the decisions we might make about our sex identities over the course of our lifetimes.

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Sex & Relationships

Scientists Discover First DNA Evidence of Female Viking Warriors

A recent DNA analysis shows that a skeleton found in a famous Viking grace belonged to a female warrior.

Katheryn Winnick from History's "Vikings"

The site of Birka, a Viking-era city whose remains lie about 20 miles east of Stockholm, has long been a treasure trove for scholars and archaeologists. Buried here are more than 3,000 Viking graves, all under what was once a central outpost in a complex trading network built during the Early Middle Ages. In the 10th century, for reasons researchers don't fully understand, it was abandoned

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Surprising Science

This App Collects Data on How Frequently Women Are "Manterrupted"

There's an app that detects manterruptions—but we round up the research to find out which groups of people are really doing the most interrupting.

Photo: Woman Interrupted App

Introducing our word of the day – “manterruption”. It’s a pretty self-explanatory term, describing a behavior when men interrupt women unnecessarily, which leads to a pretty serious imbalance in the amount of female vs. male contributions in a conversation.

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Culture & Religion