In early December 2020, Myles Brady Davis, a transgender man, gave birth to a daughter, Zayn, with “his” partner, Precious, a transgender woman. Illinois, rightly so, recognized “him” as the baby’s mother, as, of course, it is biological women who give birth to children. Myles was upset that “he” would be listed as the mother on the baby’s birth certificate, as “he” identifies as the baby’s father, despite “his” having given birth to her. Illinois is now changing their policy in regards to transgender parenting in order to no longer “misgender” birth certificates.
One may envision that this is a historical moment for transgendered persons. However, birth certificates exist for children, not to validate the decisions and intentions of adults. Birth certificates are intended to reflect the biological reality of children. Instead, Myles insists “his” child’s birth certificate validate “his” subjective gender identity. “He” states, “I’d gone through two years of (in vitro fertilization) and nine months of a very difficult pregnancy just to be misgendered at the end. It was really breaking my heart.”
Whether children are donor conceived, adopted, or have estranged parents, to fully acknowledge the rights of children, their existences must not be based on lies that distort the foundation of their biological realities. Not only does the falsification of birth certificates leave children feeling as if their interests are not acknowledged by their parents, but it also leaves them feeling as if the state does not have their best interests in mind. Children that have experienced falsified birth certificates have spoken out on the matter.
Gregory Loy, upon discovering that his mother’s husband was not his biological father:
“My birth certificate was not created with me in mind…Birth certificates are used as tools for state sponsored lies that support multiple people, really everyone except the children that they are about. These certificates enable a legal record that hides the truth for the parents’ benefit [to] the detriment of the child. They create an environment that props up the adoption and fertility industries by giving parents that false peace of mind that the real identity is now hidden by [a] legal record.”
Ben Smith and Theodore, whose fathers are not listed on their birth certificates:
“So at the end of the day, I’m left feeling there’s a big disconnect between what matters and what is actually celebrated, and the distortion of the birth certificate enabled this to happen.”
“I’m clearly at the bottom of the pecking order as far as rights are concerned.”
We know that mothers and fathers provide necessary, distinctive roles and influences in the lives of their children. Such distinguishing roles and traits are imperative for the healthy, well-rounded development of children, as well as imperative to the formation of their unique identities. This identity formation begins with the development of attachment upon birth, as is shown by the extreme impact on a baby’s sense of self when he or she is severed from his or her birth mother.
As stated by adoptee and adoptee rights advocate Dr. Catherine Lynch, babies separated from their mothers at birth “experience a profound loss of self as the baby instinctively seeks their mother after labour…but instead experiences the mother, that part of the baby’s sense of itself – as vanished, and felt as a kind of death,” as this experience upon birth is part of “that person’s foundational experience of life outside the womb and will remain part of that person throughout their adult life.”
Given the fact that the internalization of their realities and their sense of identities begin upon birth, how then, does a child’s cognitive and behavioral development get disrupted when the person the child already knows as his or her mother, the woman who gave birth to the child, who the child relies on for emotional refuge, tries to now imitate the role of “father”? Conversely, the person that the child knows as “father,” responsible for teaching confidence through exploratory, risk-taking endeavors, is now imitating the role of “mother.”
Mothers and fathers also provide modeling for children of healthy men/women relationships, which lays the foundation for children when seeking out their own future relationships. Transgender parenting arrangements therefore provide a disfigured foundation for children to seek to emulate in marriage. A transgendered male/female, while he/she may provide a convincing facade of a biological man or woman, will never be capable of fully embracing true masculinity or femininity. Further, a transgendered partnership will never be capable of successfully enlightening children to fully embrace their own identities as men and women in their own marriages, and in their own future parenting. Therefore, falsified birth certificates for children of transgender parents contribute to the societal ill that there is nothing inherently admirable about the unique traits and roles of men and women, and contributes to the belief that biological reality is relative based on the desires of adults.
While society continues to promote adult fulfillment over the rights of children, it’s imperative that in order to protect the best interests of children, cultural trends have no falsifying influence on the data pertaining to any child’s primary identifying documents.