2006_11_health_xy.jpgRemember when your little league coach (or dad) used to tell you to grow a pair and be a man? Well, now you can march right up to `em (provided all that deep psychological damage didn't stick) and say you don't need to. The Times reports that if a new City Department of Health plan is passed, a gender switch may be as easy as making the change on a person's birth certificate. Someone seeking a sex swap would need an affidavit from their doctor and a mental health professional delineating their reasons.

In addition, applicants would need to have changed their names and will need to show that they have lived in their new chosen gender for at least two years. However, and here's the radical part of the proposal, no actual medical or surgical changes will be required! This movement seems to be arising both from practical needs (truly transgendered folk may not be able to afford sex change surgeries) and more symbolic ones (that gender is not actually a product of physical attributes but of psychological and social components).

Facilitating sex change will undoubtedly raise additional questions: like whom the transgendered would be able to marry or would they be able to apply for jobs typically reserved for the other gender. The Times also quotes the chairman of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins (who, by the way, is also a member of GW Bush's "bioethics" council and is known for being against the transgender movement) who brings up another potential problem. He shares the example of a guy who claimed to be a male lesbian in order to proposition women in a ladies' room - clearly something that would become a rampant problem if the proposition were to pass.