Birth certificates that no longer display who is the mother and who the father are being introduced shortly. This announcement was welcomed by LGBT organisations; same-sex couples with children regarded the current form of birth certificates as discriminatory.
No-one would argue that the information on birth certificates is accurate, necessarily, in the biological sense. It is socially accurate however: a formal, public statement of origins conferring all sorts of social statuses and claims, from birth. We pattern our society using categories of gender, age, kinship, and bind it together, order it, set up generational cultural and economic transfers with exchange. As well as goods, we exchange women, in a special form known as marriage. We do it formally, and we do it informally, but from brides being given with dowries( or paid for with bridewealth) by their kinsmen, to temporary liasons engaged-in at the whim of the couple involved with the woman exchanging herself, we do it. The grammar of social relations produces a predictable social environment and all the elaborations we introduce to adjust for passing social goals - equality, resource allocation, protection from the abuse of power etc. Many would argue that we are natural grammar generators; we do it with anything that comes to hand.
Bearing this in mind perhaps we should be wary of determinedly setting aside gender, kinship, descent, generation, and exchange. It's one thing to act individually at choice, to declare oneself, for instance, a boy - given the advantages it's surprising girls don't insist they are boys for much longer than they do - or refuse to be organised into age cohorts and go to university at 10, or marry your siblings, or ignore the physical markers of the natural world and make people what they say they are, dissociated from function and capacities. But to enforce such individual choices by institutional and legal means, punishing 'discrimination', means that we are re-ordering all our social and power relations. There are vulnerable people who are classed together and protected by society - children are the most obvious - though we can think of many others. If we are determined to force the pace of social evolution (and the kinds of practices thought of here are very stable, though they do slowly evolve in response to change in the world) we should expect trouble.
16 hours ago