American Medical Association under fire for Calling to Remove Sex From Birth Certificates

3 Aug 2021

The American Medical Association (AMA), the largest organization of physicians and medical students in the United States, came under fire over the weekend for a recent proposal calling to end the designation of sex on birth certificates.

The measure was publicized by the Board of Trustees in June and previously proposed by the House of Delegates, which is the organization's policymaking entity.

It caught renewed attention after WebMD tweeted about it over the weekend. Backed by the AMA LGBTQ Advisory Committee, it favors removing sex on the public portion of the birth certificate and allows "that it be visible for medical and statistical use only."

According to the AMA, recording a person’s sex can result in “confusion, possible discrimination, harassment and violence” against those whose chosen gender identity or self-expression is different from their assigned sex at birth, whenever they are requested to show their birth certificate.

“Assigning sex using a binary variable and placing it on the public portion of the birth certificate perpetuates a view that it is immutable and fails to recognize the medical spectrum of gender identity,” the AMA’s LGBTQ Advisory Committee argued. “Imposing such a categorization system risks stifling self-expression and self-identification and contributes to marginalization and minoritization.”

The AMA proposal came as the United States Department of State changed its passport policy, allowing Americans to self-select their gender on their passports without having to provide medical certification. A third gender marker other than “male” or “female” will also be added to the U.S. passport in the future.

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