Separating anatomy from what it means to be a man or a woman, New York City is moving forward with a plan to let people alter the sex on their birth certificate even if they have not had sex-change surgery.
Under the rule being considered by the city’s Board of Health, which is likely to be adopted soon, people born in the city would be able to change the documented sex on their birth certificates by providing affidavits from a doctor and a mental health professional laying out why their patients should be considered members of the opposite sex, and asserting that their proposed change would be permanent.
Applicants would have to have changed their name and shown that they had lived in their adopted gender for at least two years, but there would be no explicit medical requirements.
Dr. Reisman goes beyond politics and ethics to examine the epistemological meaning of this law. Among the points he makes:
What is present in the rule being considered by New York City’s Board of Health is an attempt to forcibly impose the fantasy of some people on everyone else. It is an attempt to elevate fantasy to the level of actual reality and to compel everyone else to accept it as though it were reality.
In this rule New York City will force people to recognize A as non-A.
This is the logical end of the premise of egalitarianism. Fantasy is inherent in egalitarianism, which wipes out distinctions and treats all people as if they were metaphysically equal. If a man wants to call himself a woman, who are we to deny him that right? Who are we to say, “No, that is false”?
A generation ago this ruling would have been a reductio ad absurdum argument against egalitarianism and multiculturalism. People would have responded, “Oh, come on -- the New Left will never take it to that extreme.” Yesterday’s absurdities are becoming today’s laws in New York City.