Death and Transgender – The Laws v. Reality

This year a law goes in effect in California that will require Coroners and  Medical Examiners to record the gender the deceased ‘wants to be’ rather than what the actual physiologic gender is. Many other states will likely follow.  This means the deceased can have an intact penis proudly displayed under his skirt and still have a death certificate list the person as female.

This issue is not a human rights issue, it’s not a Gay or Trans rights issue. It’s an issue of proper medical determination and common sense.  I’m not attempting to dictate how someone wants to live their life, how they dress, or what sexual relations they wish to participate in.  My medical and investigative point is – people are born male or female and their opinion cannot change that.  Okay, I know a very small percentage of the population are born as hermaphrodites, I’m not talking about that.  This is an actual medical condition.

I can start telling people I’m a pony but I’m not a pony regardless of how I dress or how often I say it.  If I get hurt would you call a Veterinarian or a Medical Doctor

I explore these issue in detail in the audio podcast.


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4 comments on Death and Transgender – The Laws v. Reality

  1. Joseph Bishop says:

    Hi Darren,
    THIS is why I listen to Coroner Talk, THIS is why I jumped on the DITAcademy (21 Aug 2017 graduate)! Because I have learned to trust that YOU won’t shy away from issues that impacts the Death Investigation process, no matter how controversial the topic. The points you bring out and the inevitable effects it can have to our industry are well made. “Legislators Take Heed!”

    On the other topic (the SRN Barrier), This is a sorely needed item in death investigations, which once again, you have made known to your listeners. And, I particularly got a kick out of the mention of Clark County Coroner’s office. 😉

    Well, thanks for another great episode, looking forward to the next one.
    Be safe brother.
    Joseph Bishop
    Las Vegas, NV (Yes you can read this on air if it would be worthy)

  2. J Schweitzer says:

    Good stuff. It takes real balls to speak out these days, but we really really need it. Hope you are don’t get too much hate from the lunatics that have taken over the asylum. The world has lost it, and unfortunately I don’t think it’s going to get better.

  3. Robyn Mitchell says:

    I love listening to your podcasts, but I fail to see how a penis can be “proudly displayed” under a skirt! Especially if the person wearing the skirt is dead. I am assuming underwear covered the penis. Proudly displayed would more likely be either alive & naked, waving the unsightly thing about or alive & clothed in ‘pants’, sitting with legs spread as wide as possible with frequent scratches, tucks & adjustments of the tightly packaged genitalia. I don’t have balls, thankfully, but I too have the courage to say what I think. I understand what you mean, by the way.

  4. Marcel Britsch says:

    Hi Darren,
    just listened to this, and I know time has moved on since you recorded this, but thought I’d drop you a line as at work we have frequent discussions on gender identity and diversity.

    First off, generally I agree with the issues you raise. In fact, as you point out, medically it is important to know the genetic sex, as, for instance female sexed bodies react differently to medication than male sexed bodies.

    But I am wondering whether there is a slightly more ‘elegant’ the solution to this problem. Elegant in the sense that it covers more bases and also satisfies the various very mixed opinions on this topic 🙂

    I think this can all be easily resolved by adding 2 or rather 3 dimensions
    – sex (are you XX or XY, or other permutations) which will never change. This should be mandatory on your birth certificate.
    – gender expression (what is your chosen presentation and this could be male, female, non binary or pony if you must). This should be optional to change on the various legal documentation.
    – in addition I think we may need a 3rd dimension which is about genitalia, i.e. penis, vagina, etc. And of course there are further permutations. For now it’s penis + breasts, but soon I think we can expect penis + vagina, dependent on progress in cosmetic surgery.
    Regarding legal documentation, this is interesting, as we German passports for instance used to have a field for ‘special characteristics’ which is no longer the case. Would we have added a boob job here? Maybe in the 70s. Today? Not. So how about gender re-assignment. Ideally we would have a record…
    Maybe this is all about accessible medical records, but that comes with all sorts of risks and challenges…

    Anyway I am aware that the legislator is most likely not as wise to go anywhere near any of the above, so that doesn’t solve ‘your problem’ in practice…

    Where what you say does not seem to be fully right to me (and I am not trying to tell you how to do your job, hell, what do I know, I’m in IT 🙂 but concerned frequently with work ethics and diversity) is to say female is if it has a vagina. Because along those lines you’d provide the wrong medication of you were a doctor, if you see what I mean.
    Instead if we apply the above 3 characteristics then we have covered all basis, I think.

    Make for more complexity, but hey, human lives are messy 🙂

    I very much agree with you on your takes political correctness
    Keep up the good work

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