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To believe that sex is not 'assigned' at birth, but observed?

(366 Posts)
Splandy Tue 31-Oct-17 12:11:36

I filled in a form for British gymnastics yesterday and was asked whether my child's gender identity matches the sex he was assigned at birth. I started a thread about this elsewhere and other people said that they have also had this question on forms. Upon asking, one person was told that it is a result of new government regulations coming in, meaning they have to ask it.

Does anybody know what these regulations are? Is there anybody who genuinely believes that sex is assigned at birth rather than observed? If so, could you explain why? I am very concerned that something so clearly untrue is being slipped in under the radar. There was no option to disagree with the question and any answer implied that I agree with what the question states: that sex is assigned at birth.

Would be especially interesting to hear from midwives/doctors.

To clarify, I am talking about your biological sex. Not gender.

RoseAndRose Tue 31-Oct-17 12:16:17

Isn't this something to do with intersex babies, who might have quite a variety of underlying chromosome combinations? And whose observable genitalia may of may not be distinct

messyjessy17 Tue 31-Oct-17 12:19:43

It's all part of the agenda. They are pretending that doctors assign sex to children when they were born, rather than it being something that is intrinsically part of them.
Nobody assigned my boy children sex at birth, they merely saw their penises and noted down that they were in fact male.

Intersex conditions are very rare, this is not what it's all about. It's about furthering the stupid notion that sex is made up/fluid/changeable. When it is in fact none of those things.

SleepingStandingUp Tue 31-Oct-17 12:20:00

Well isnt sex "the anatomy of an individual's reproductive system, and secondary sex characteristics" so for most babies that IS assigned at birth?

pastabakewithcheese Tue 31-Oct-17 12:20:51

Sex is assigned at birth, you either have male genitalia or female genitalia. Gender is observed.

StickThatInYourPipe Tue 31-Oct-17 12:21:25


I thought so too, but I guess on a really basic level the dr hasn't assigned a sex, the baby just is what it is

Splandy Tue 31-Oct-17 12:21:46

That is the only situation I could imagine a sex being 'assigned'. Though I am not certain that it is anymore. I think the days of performing surgery on intersex children to place them neatly into one or the other are over.

But the question didn't ask whether my child was assigned a sex at birth. It stated that he had been. That all children have had a sex assigned.

sirfredfredgeorge Tue 31-Oct-17 12:22:26

Is there anybody who genuinely believes that sex is assigned at birth rather than observed?

The use of the phrase has a huge history, and is well understood to be an observation, it can be nothing else. The phrase is of such limited use, with no chance of misunderstanding and little chance of causing harm that I can't see any reason to change it. YABU.

messyjessy17 Tue 31-Oct-17 12:23:15

It isn't "assigned" it is simple seen and noted. Assigned implies that it is in the control of the assignee.

SleepingStandingUp Tue 31-Oct-17 12:23:35

I think you're over thinking "assigned". Assuming you don't have an intersex baby, when it came out, someone looked between their legs and declares boy or girl. That's surely all they mean? And now they're asking of they live as the same gender?

UrsulaPandress Tue 31-Oct-17 12:24:04

Tis all a load of bollocks.

Terrylene Tue 31-Oct-17 12:24:15

Who gets the job of assigning it? Is it doctor, midwife, or registrar? Do they go on a course for best practice? What criteria do they work from?

sinceyouask Tue 31-Oct-17 12:24:55

The phrase comes from those babies whose sex is not clear at birth and who do have it 'assigned'.

harlandgoddard Tue 31-Oct-17 12:24:55

With intersex babies they will be ‘assigned’ a sex at birth. It’s obviously quite common for these people to feel they are the wrong sex/gender as they get older hence the question.

Splandy Tue 31-Oct-17 12:25:36

So, when you hear the phrase "assigned at birth", you take it to mean the sex that they are? How does the word assigned fit into that? Assigned at conception?

I take it to mean that a healthcare professional has 'assigned' it, as though it isn't a basic fact which they are noting down. That somebody in future could claim that their sex was incorrectly assigned by that person.

I find that extremely problematic.

Terrylene Tue 31-Oct-17 12:25:45

How do thy know what to assign?

ferrier Tue 31-Oct-17 12:27:51

Surely it should just be 'sex at birth' and the answers could be male, female or other.

StickThatInYourPipe Tue 31-Oct-17 12:29:25

Op I'm not being goady at all but I just don't understand.

Why do you think of this as problematic? I dont really see what difference it makes it just increases inclusion of those who were born intersex

StickThatInYourPipe Tue 31-Oct-17 12:29:52

I just need an example to explain what could happen from this

SleepingStandingUp Tue 31-Oct-17 12:30:12

^Sex assignment (sometimes known as gender assignment) is the determination of an infant's sex at birth.[1] In the majority of births, a relative, midwife, nurse or physician inspects the genitalia when the baby is delivered, and sex and gender are assigned, without the expectation of ambiguity.[2] Assignment may also be done prior to birth through prenatal sex discernment.

Even though the term assignment suggests a decision on the part of the parents or medical professionals, the act almost universally constitutes an observation or recognition of inherent primary sexual characteristics of a baby.^
You're being overly pedantic about a phrase commonly used

messyjessy17 Tue 31-Oct-17 12:31:28

Why do you think of this as problematic? I dont really see what difference it makes it

because they are pretending that it is soemthing that has to be decided, that it is in the domain of the person who "assigns" it, rather than it just being.
If you have a vagina, uterus, ovaries and XX chromosomes you ARE a female, whether a professional states it or not. It just IS.

harlandgoddard Tue 31-Oct-17 12:32:50

They will look at the majority of the sexual characteristics and go from there.

DixieFlatline Tue 31-Oct-17 12:33:39

I dont really see what difference it makes it just increases inclusion of those who were born intersex

If it was about being inclusive of intersex people you could use the formulation 'Sex (or sex assigned at birth)'.

Initially I wrote 'Sex at birth (or sex assigned at birth)', but realised that implies you can change sex. Which - obviously - you can't. So I had to get rid of the 'at birth' part for the main question.

You don't include a tiny minority by lying about everyone else.

Splandy Tue 31-Oct-17 12:34:14

Yes, it is 'assigned' that I have a problem with. Is this word commonly used to describe the noting of a baby's sex at birth? I have never heard assigned used in that way. When you say it has limited use, what do you mean? Do you mean that it is only used with that meaning when noting a baby's sex?

drwitch Tue 31-Oct-17 12:34:33

I see gender as assigned at birth - how a baby is treated and the expectations about their behaviours and character will depend on the observation of their sex

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