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How to record change of sex

Discussion in 'Digital records' started by PeterM, Mar 22, 2022.

  1. PeterM

    PeterM LostCousins Member

    I have recently been contacted by a relative who I will call 'boy'. He was born 'girl'. I have him recorded as 'girl' with birth record but he doesn't like this at all as he has spent a lot of time distancing himself from his previous life. He doesn't like 'known as'. The only solution I have at present is to show 'girl' with record and 'boy' without records. This looks like twins. Has anyone else had to deal with this problem yet? Does family tree software need updating?
  2. I haven't had to deal with this myself but I agree software may need updating.
    Looking at how you add a person in Ancestry and in FTM there is the ability to choose a gender of Unknown. I don't know whether other programs allow that but if you use Ancestry or FTM perhaps you could use Unknown and see what the relative thinks of it.
  3. PhilGee

    PhilGee LostCousins Member

    One possibility in standard GEDCOM is a "custom event" together with gender as "unknown" or "male". In Ancestry, this is just before "Other Facts" in the drop-down for events; give it a relevant name eg sexchange, add a date and a description eg "girl to boy".
    This will be displayed in the Ancestry events.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2022
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Megastar

    The details of anyone living should be kept private, but I presume the tree this relative has seen is a version for family eyes only?

    Although in some ways my instinct would be to record things as they actually are, if family are being shown your tree, then I would be inclined to respect your relative's wishes. One option, if your software allows it, might be to record him as male with the correct dates and places for any events added, but to add in private notes which are for your eyes only and don't appear in any trees or gedcoms. This would hopefully keep your relative happy while allowing you to have a private record of the historical facts.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. PeterM

    PeterM LostCousins Member

    Thank you for your replies. My tree on Ancestry is private. This is the tree I have given him access to because he had been told about it and he wanted to know more about his family. I have a tree on my computer with family historian which shows him with facts and is shown as 'known as'. He is adamant that 'he' is not 'she' which is why I have two people. This is something that we will need to deal with in future.
  6. Can't help sticking my oar in here, whatever is on their birth certificate they are stuck with until the law change is made which allows change of sex on birth cert.
    I agree with Pauline, I'm sure I would record things as they are and use the Custom Fact to record the change. If there has been a sex change op you could use the Medical Fact to record date and place.
  7. Bryman

    Bryman LostCousins Megastar

    I would agree but also go further and say that the birth certificate should never be changed, whatever the wishes are of the subject. Even with an apparent change of gender, that never actually happens, regardless of physical operations and drug therapy. The DNA remains unaltered. That has major implications for men who wish to cheat and compete at sport as women.

    People should be able to lead their life however they wish but not to legally alter facts to be untrue.

    I have not been placed in this awkward position regarding the contents of my family tree but suggestions from other forum members seem sensible in keeping things clear and not muddying the water, even if that does not conform to the wishes of some family members.
  8. Susan48

    Susan48 LostCousins Superstar

    This may or may not be helpful in deciding how to enter transgender people on a family tree program, but apparently the correct pronouns to use when referring to them as individuals are "they/them" rather than the gender specific "he/she/him/her".
  9. Bryman

    Bryman LostCousins Megastar

    Really, even for single individuals? Surely "they/them" refers to multiple people.
  10. Susan48

    Susan48 LostCousins Superstar

    Yes, this is the "correct" way to refer to them, e.g. in schools and colleges. It is something we are having to deal with in our family so I have learnt a few things along the way. For a balanced account of all the issues involved I recommend Trans, by Helen Joyce. I read the Kindle version.
  11. Katie Bee

    Katie Bee LostCousins Member

    A recent TV programme in the UK 'The Great Pottery Throwdown' had a contestant who they referred to as they/them/their.
    It was difficult at first to get used to, as I had not heard it used for a single person before.
  12. Susan48

    Susan48 LostCousins Superstar

    Yes, we noticed that usage on the programme. It was the first time we'd been aware of it on television.
  13. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    The correct pronouns to use are the ones the individual prefers to be addressed by - many people, especially those who work for the government, include this information in their email signature.

    I always thought that they/them was for non-binary individuals but it's actually more complicated than that judging from this article.

    In a family tree I would show someone as they wish to be shown.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  14. PeterM

    PeterM LostCousins Member

    I have just received a notification from WIKITREE where they are dealing with my problem. Gender is now 'Gender at Birth'. There is then an option to Hide the information. It still needs some refining but at least they are trying to deal with the problem. I agree that the person is shown as they wish and this is why I have two people. If you show the person as they wish then you cannot show their Birth Record as this is different.
  15. Susan48

    Susan48 LostCousins Superstar

    I have just downloaded the latest version of MacFamilyTree, version 10, and noticed that for recording gender there is now an additional option, Intersex, as well as the previous Male, Female, and Unknown Gender.
  16. Britjan

    Britjan LostCousins Star

    Intersex is generally accepted as "born with or develop by puberty a variety of physical characteristics associated with either a male or female ".
    Otherwise I think the term should be "preferred gender description" .
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  17. Susan48

    Susan48 LostCousins Superstar

    I hadn't known about that specific definition of intersex. Presumably Synium, the developers of MacFamilyTree, had come under pressure to include that particular option for gender, but it doesn't help with entering someone who is trans. Although of course there's nothing to stop someone assigning Intersex to a Trans individual on MFT, purely for their own convenience when recording the information.

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