The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
8 Points

Assigning children a gender at birth is harmful and restrictive

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/15/2014 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 886 times Debate No: 61769
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (2)




Assigning children the title "male" or "female" at birth only harms them in the long run.

For transgender children, assigning them a gender at birth only leads to pain and confusion. They don't understand why they don't feel like the gender they were assigned and feel like there's something wrong with them.

For cisgender children, having genders from the start reinforces gender stereotypes (pink rooms for girls, blue for boys, etc.) It also harms transgender people by putting forth the idea that cisgender is normal, while transgender is not (much in the same way that homosexual "coming out" does. i.e. You're assumed to be heterosexual or cisgendered until you specifically state otherwise, instead of them both being seen as possible options.)

In this debate, we are debating gender, not sex.

Sex: The biological makeup of an individual's reproductive anatomy or secondary sex characteristics

Gender: Social roles based on the sex of the person or personal identification of one's own gender based on an internal awareness.

Transgender: A person who's sex (or gender assigned at birth) does not match their true gender

Cisgender: A person who's sex (or gender assigned at birth) does match their true gender


Thank you Pro for creating this debate.

I will be on the Con side (against), the harmful/restrictiveness of assigning a gender to a new born.

Pro brings up a great point about Transgender and Cisgender, and how they're genetic makeup, or even they're personaly preference may cause them to believe they are assigned to the wrong gender.

Men may believe they are women, vice versa. Those born with a different genetic make-up having both male and female sexual organs may feel different then what their parents decided.

However, being assigned a gender is in no way harmful or restrictive to the respective child.

-Only 6 states in the US restrict birth certificates from being ammened for gender changes.

-25 states allow birth certificates to be ammended for gender reassignment without the need of a sexual reassignment surgery.

Therefore, if someone feels they are the wrong gender, they have every right (in 44 out of 50 states) to lawfully change their gender and be recognized as the gender they see fit.

Feeling or being different than others is not harmful. It is simply how you were made. People can either accept the gender they were assigned and live life to the fullest, or choose to change their gender, legally, and live life to the fullest.

The US has made great strides in accomodating those who may not be, or feel, simply male or female.

Debate Round No. 1


(Thank you for being so respectful with your argument. This is a pretty controversial topic and there was a lot of room for hateful responses or trolls to show up.)

The problem is that cisgender is seen as the default. If someone realizes they aren't cis gender, extra work is required. Plus, 25 states may seem like a lot, but that means that half of all transgender people can't have their gender legally changed without surgery. Many transgender people don't want surgery, and many more simply can't afford it.

If gender was left blank at birth, the person (cisgender or transgender) could fill it in later once they're old enough to know for sure whether they're really cisgender or not. It could be a detail filled out when they apply for a driver's license or something similar. Or, better yet, it could be something that's never officially filled out, just like how we don't have to legally register our sexual orientation.

You claim that feeling different isn't harmful, but statistics show otherwise.

Over 40% of transgender people attempt suicide. Only 3.7% of adults and 15% of teens, cisgender and transgender, have suicidal thoughts. The percentage of transgender suicide attempts are drastically higher than the general population.

The average monthly income for a transgender man is $1,100, and the average income for a transgender woman is only $744. The average monthly income for the general population is $2,313. Almost 60% of transgender people report being discriminated against when it comes to jobs, leaving them unable to get decent jobs no matter how qualified they are. 20% of transgender people end up homeless, while only 1% of the general population does. 83% of transgender women have been verbally abused for it, and 37% reported physical abuse.

If being transgender was seen as just as normal as being cisgender, rather than something weird and foreign and wrong, this wouldn't happen. Leveling the playing field from the start instead of automatically setting up cis as the default would be a big step towards achieving that.



It is not a matter of if you can afford the surgery or not. People have the freedom to move and register in others states, therefore making this change on a birth certificate very simple.

By looking at the map I posted in Round 1, there is not state too far to go to if this is an issue someone feels that strongly about.

If someone is unwilling to drive/fly to change one of, if not THE, most important part about their identity, then it is not that big of an issue in the long run.

Relevant note: Topics of side-notes, and the difficulties of being transgender do not apply to the gender given at birth. I strongly believe the discrimination of anyone is wrong, but being different is unfortunately looked down upon.

And your statistics, which I will bring up in a moment, do not have any detailing on transgendered who felt their mis-assigned gender was the caused of their discrimination.

Now, onto your statistics...

Your stats on discrimination, household income, etc are all from 1999.

The Employment Eqaulity Act did not take effect until October 1999.

The Housing Equality Act started in 2010

Extra Health Care rights were put into place in 2012 to accomodate Transgenders and others. (which disallow discrimination and refusal of treatment)

Your monthly incomes are from 1990-99 (cenus stats) that have no been adjusted for inflation.

The US has made leaps and bounds to accomodate every gender, including those separate from just male or female. So not only do your discrimnation arguments not apply to which gender a person was assigned at brith, but the statistics are too old to recogonize the benfits the US has been able put in to place to protect and serve transgenders.

Debate Round No. 2


I apologize for the problem with my statistics, I had so many tabs open that I didn't notice the dates on some of them. I'm new to debating and I was more focused on which sites had clear concise information. I'll pay more attention to that next time.

It's not necessarily that they're unwilling to drive/fly to another state. Again, with so many of them being poor or homeless they may not even be able to afford that. Many people living in poverty can't afford a plane ticket and don't own a car. (In a 2010 study, it was found that one out of every five transgender people had been homeless at some point. Even if that was before the Housing Equality Act, it was still only four years ago. Plenty of transgender people who are still alive today have still suffered from this, even if things are improving.) Even if they do own a car, they may not be able to get a day off work to drive there (especially if they're working multiple jobs.)

As I mentioned, having society viewing cisgender as the default and transgender as "other" is the source of a lot of the discrimination. If everyone wasn't assumed to be cisgender at birth, it would be a big step towards a society that was more accepting of transgender people.



Discrimination is present in every race.

However, general acceptance of those who are transgendered is a huge step which soceity is taking.

You have stated that Transgender is considered the "Other" gender in today's society, and that this is a problem.

You are also stating birth certificates are to be left blank, and to let the child decide (at adulthood I can only assume) Despite having the ability to change.

You cannot elave a birth certificate blank. That would then cause even more confusion to those who need to verify you by your birth certificate. So you are essentially posing the idea that an "Other" slot be put on birth certificates. or a "To Be defined later" option (which is essentially 'other')

This unforuntately contradicts itself. They don't want to be considered the "Other gender" to the cisgender, but they want to be able to be listed as another form of "Other" on their birth certificate.

Thank you for the debate
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by cheyennebodie 2 years ago
When my children were born, the doctor told me whether it was a boy or a girl. And that is correct. I started planning to raise them in light of that.I would not raise my little girl to be manly. And I would not raise my boys to be feminine.That is sick to do that. In case you have not noticed, boys always have acted differently than girls, whether we teach them or not.Boys are naturally more aggressive. And to stifle that would be wrong, like I suppose your parents might have done with you.Our job as parents are to teach direction for that aggression. Not stifle it. But liberalism once again tries to turn things upside down. I think the only reason they do this is to see if they can and to stick it the eye of traditional values.I would never have treated my wife like one of the boys. I would treat her better than that.
Posted by Pfalcon1318 2 years ago
There is nothing unclear about it. The way you use the terms equivocates on the definitions you've provided.

Either way, you can't fix it now.
Posted by Dragonfang 2 years ago
It is the definition of the wishful thinking fallacy. Transgenders wish they were from the opposite gender, well, unfortunately they are not. Napoleon wishes he was taller, unfortunately he is not. Bob wishes he had a harley that can fly and travel in time, unfortunately, he doesn't. John wishes he was rich and omniscient, unfortunately, he is not.
We can have an unlimited amount of wishes. However, believing that pretending that our wish is true will make it true is no different from "The emperor's new clothes". People suffering from anorexia aren't helped by giving them "surgical help" or pretending to see what they see in the mirror. Pretending they are something they are not, have something they don't is not compassionate or tolerant, it is lying to them and ourselves. Acknowledging that people are not born the same is a basic step in gaining a sense of individuality.

Take this example: We are back 200 years in time and an enslaved African feels that he should've been free, therefore he believes that he should've been born white and is in the wrong body.

I have no problem with transgender folks arguing about whether some or all gender roles are rational or not, but to try to enforce people to believe something that is not true is a no-no.
Posted by ElectricLady 2 years ago
Male and female are often used for sex and gender. The sex of a person with a vagina and the XX chromosome pair is female, but their gender can be male, female, or something else.

Transgender means their sex is not the same as their gender, while cisgender means their sex is the same as their gender. I'm not sure what you find unclear about that.
Posted by Pfalcon1318 2 years ago
Not to mention, the terms "transgender" and "cisgender" are completely incompatible with the terms "gender" and "sex" as you've defined them.

A dictionary definition might be useful to you.
Posted by Pfalcon1318 2 years ago
Your definition for the term "gender" doesn't fit your arguments. "Male" and "Female" are not genders, they are sexes, per your definition.

By your own definitions, a person with a vagina and the XX chromosome pair is a female, and a person with a penis and the XY chromosome pair is a male. Nothing else comes out of this; your arguments are incoherent.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: pro showed that indeed the assigning was restrictive, but harmful, is rebutted by con
Vote Placed by FaustianJustice 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Good debate, this isn't something I have considered. In light of Con's refutes, and Pros shortcomings in getting to 'harmful', I can't say that the premise was fully satisfied. Besides, to circumvent many of pro's openers, wouldn't it just be easier to note that a birth cert has "sex" and not "gender" in many states? and have those contrary switch to "sex" and not "gender"?