Here is a news story about a Canadian man who legally changed his gender to female in order to reduce his car insurance rate. Apparently, he saved nearly $1,100 Canadian Dollars and all he had to do was legally change his gender on the birth certificate…and all he needed to do that was obtain a note from a doctor acknowledging his identification as a woman.
But the man drew some criticism. The article mentions a claim that he committed a form of perjury and should face time in prison. The transgender community also criticized him, saying it downgrades the whole process of changing ones gender.
This ridiculous situation reminded me of a basic principle of reason and how it applies to coherent thought. Non-arbitrary opinions or theories are based upon publicly verifiable evidence.1 Evidence accessible only to you is subjective. Objective evidence is accessible to everyone and based on facts that can be proved through analysis, measurement, observation, etc.….And shouldn’t any public policy—or an insurance policy available to the public—be based on publicly verifiable evidence?
If you say you are a woman, what kind of objective and publicly verifiable evidence can you show to support your theory? There is genetic data (xx chromosomes), hormone data, size/shape and also physical body parts that can be publicly verified…hopefully in a way that will not violate public nudity laws.
What if you say you were born a man, but now self-identify as a woman? What publicly verifiable evidence can you show? To avoid this awkward conundrum, we can simply define gender as primarily existing “between the ears” (whatever you identify with). In this case a note from a doctor stating that you truly believe you are a woman should suffice as publicly verifiable evidence.
If the later example is coherent, it could and should be applied in a universal way. My 16-year-old son just got his driver’s license last month, and when I was quoted the new car insurance rate, I just about fell out of my chair. My son also started his first job about a month ago, so between his working and driving he has informed me that he is basically an adult now. If my son self-identifies as an adult, who am I to disagree? A note from a doctor acknowledging his identification as an adult should suffice to have his birth-date changed to make him 18, or whatever age he identifies with. The older the better as far as our car insurance bill is concerned!
Other things to consider…
- How about your place of birth for passports and such? Just have the physical reality of your birth legally changed to the place of birth you identify with.
- Have you ever lied about your weight listed on your driver’s license? How can it be lying if you merely stated the weight you identify with? Who is anyone to say what you weigh, but you?
- If a Caucasian man was raised by African Americans in an African American community and he also self-identifies as an African America, then he is an African American and should have access to any and all affirmative action benefits. Agreed?
- Fr. Roberts J. Spitzer, Ten Universal Principles (San Francisco: Ignatius Press), 2011), p.11