OK, California: How many genders are there, really?
My dad's class was among the first to receive their degrees under the "G.I. Bill," from the University of Pennsylvania's Moore School of Electrical Engineering. Indeed, his entire class of June 1949 had served in the military.
It seems that the University of Pennsylvania was pleased to take government funding for the veterans' tuitions but did not make it a priority to provide for the veterans' social integration into the campus community (a situation to which the veterans at Moore School were largely indifferent, having their own social system based upon their common experiences). This is reflected in the Moore School yearbook itself. In those days, the Moore School yearbooks were not published professionally, but were put together by the members of the Moore School classes themselves.
As noted in the "Foreword" to the yearbook, the pages were typed by the members of the class and reproduced using the mimeographic process. Those pages were interspaced with photographic images reproduced on photographic emulsion paper.
Each class member had his own page, which included an epigraph of his choosing. The epigraph chosen by class member Elwood William McMorrow was a Sir Walter Scott parody:
Breathes there a man with hide so tough who says two sexes aren't enough?
Apparently, there are such men (and women) in the California State Legislature, the principal ones in the California Senate being Toni Atkins, Cathleen Galgiani, Ricardo Lara, Holly Mitchell, Bill Monning, Nancy Skinner, and Scott Wiener, with David Chiu, Susan Eggman, Todd Gloria, Evan Low, Mark Stone, and Philip Ting following suit in the Assembly, Democrats all, shepherding the now pending Senate Bill No. 179.
Per the Legislative Counsel's Digest (emphasis supplied):
This bill would delete the requirement that an applicant have undergone any treatment and instead would authorize a person to submit to the State Registrar an application to change gender on the birth certificate and an affidavit attesting, under penalty of perjury, that the request for a change of gender is to conform the person's legal gender to the person's gender identity and not for any fraudulent purpose. By requiring the affidavit to be attested to under penalty of perjury, this bill would create a crime, and thus impose a state-mandated local program. This bill would authorize the change of gender on the new birth certificate to be female, male, or nonbinary. …
This bill would delete the requirement that a person have undergone any treatment to seek a court judgment to recognize a change of gender and instead would authorize the petitioner to attest, under penalty of perjury, that the request is to conform the person's legal gender to the person's gender identity and not for any fraudulent purpose. …
The bill would also specifically authorize a procedure for a person under 18 years of age to petition for a change of gender. …
This bill would require the applicant for a driver's license or identification card to choose a gender category of female, male, or nonbinary to be included as part of the applicant's description.
There are a number of issues and items that lie within the domain of the possible in connection with this legislation, in no specific order:
1. Symptoms of and test results for various diseases, including myocardial infarction, differ according to gender. What would be the gender status of a person who, having attempted to change from male to female (or vice versa) on "gender identity" alone, is admitted to a hospital? Which gender status would be reflected in the patient's chart and records, and on what basis will the hospital bureaucracy determine and deliver the appropriate treatment?
2. It is hardly unheard of for divorced or divorcing parents to use their children as pawns in the anger attending to their differences. What of the use of the new simplified "gender change" legal procedure for such a purpose?
3. What of a convicted male criminal who calls himself female, based upon his word alone, in accordance with the new and simplified "gender identity" standard? To which California correctional institution will he be assigned? If it is a women's prison, then what sort of dangers would be presented to the inmates by his presence there? If a men's'prison, what of his exposure to predatory inmates and staff?
4. If it is a woman who identifies as a man and is in a mens' prison, how would the prison powers-that-be deal with a request for feminine hygiene products when such requests are allegedly problematic even in women's correctional facilities?
All of the foregoing entail binary (either male or female) genders. What of the non-binary?
5. How many species of non-binary genders are there?
6. To which prison would a non-binary gender inmate be assigned?
7. What safeguards exist against the potential for fraud described in the preceding imponderables?
The obvious answer to Number 7 is that one or more departments of the California state government will be expected to scrutinize the application for the legal gender change. The California government's record on its prevention of fraud by illegal aliens should tell us all what to expect on that score.
Kenneth H. Ryesky is a lawyer now based in Petach Tikva, Israel who taught business law and taxation at Queens College CUNY for more than 20 years.