JRI Poland #Poland Re: Birth records - registering boys as girls??? #poland


Saville & Lois Kaufman wrote:

Has anyone ever known of cases in the old country where a boy was registered
at birth as a girl?

Could it be that Falk the son was registered as Falka the daughter?
It's certainly possible- and absent any other evidence or explanations and presuming
that the birth certificate does indeed record Falka as a female, I'm curious
if maybe the child was intersexed, and was therefore registered as the wrong
gender? One baby out of every 2,000 births (yes, the number really is that
high) is intersexed in some form, whether it's something non-visible like partial
androgen insensitivity or visible like ambiguous genitalia.

A doctor or midwife in nineteenth century Eastern Europe would probably not
have the diagnostic means of assigning the "correct" gender to a baby whose
genitalia was mixed or indeterminate (and, let's face it, even with DNA tests
available today, some doctors still decide an intersexed baby's gender somewhat
arbitrarily- which is why a sizable number of those kids end up having to have
sex-reassignment surgery yet again when they grow up).

One possibility is that the parents chose to name and raise the baby as a girl
(maybe because most of the community would have seen the child naked at his
bris if it were raised as a male). "She" may have become a "he" either because
later on that the child acted and seemed to identify as a stereotypical male
and decided to live as one, or maybe at puberty the masculinizing hormones just
kicked in and whoops, looks like little Falka was really a Falk all along.

Anyway, it's a possibility. :-)

- Brooke Schreier
Scarsdale, New York

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