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By documenting unchanging facts such as date of birth, place of birth, parents, and sex, a birth certificate establishes a permanent link between an individual's identity and their body. As a permanent biometric measure, sex classification stands alone: a visual inspection of an individual's person cannot provide the truth of their current name or date of birth or their country of origin. But an "F" on an identity document can be verified, it is assumed, with a quick external examination of the body. This essay examines New York City policymakers' responses to the requests for reclassification between 1965 and 2006. We analyze data generated from participant observation, ethnography, and in-depth interviews. The incongruities in the legal sex designation for trans people help us understand the larger processes that marry territory to people, link state with nation, and connect the administrative imperatives to recognize the individuals inhabiting its territories with national distributive projects organized around the family, private property, gender and race.

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