Sergio Lazarovich has, so we are told, become Sergia Lazarovich – or possibly Lazarovicha dependent upon how far Argentina goes in following slavic naming conventions – in order to be able to retire 5 years earlier. The point being that Argentina has different retirement ages for men and women in the civil service and it also has rather liberal, not to say progressive, laws about who may claim to be a man and or a woman.
At one level this is simply an amusement, someone spotting the gaps in the system and exploiting them for all they’re worth. After all, who wouldn’t like to gain an extra five years of leisure after a working life? Especially as it’s going to be at the healthy end of that retirement.
At another level though this is rather important. No, this isn’t a complaint about how silly it is to have a system of gender declaration that simply asks for the declaration. None of us here has any problem with that, we are the true liberals after all – call yourself as you wish. It’s mildly to point out the silliness of legal privilege following that self-declaration. Or if you prefer of there being legal privilege associated with sex or gender themselves. Instead, what it is about is to insist that society is a complex thing and merely changing one part of it doesn’t work. Complexity meaning that many things are connected, change one and therefore change all. Even that we cannot really quite plan what to change as there’s no one who actually knows, nor can, the complexity of the connections.
Yes, we’re back to Hayek and the impossibility of running a planned economy. An odd thing to get to from a bloke with a beard declaring femaleness but true all the same:
An Argentinian tax worker who changed his gender on official documents after claiming to identify as female actually did it in order to retire earlier, a relative says.
Sergia Lazarovich, 60, a government worker from the northern province of Salta, applied to change her gender in June last year, having lived for decades as Sergio.
OK, yes, the Mail, but they’re not the only people running the story:
Sergio Lazarovich has become a topic of debate throughout South America, and soon probably the whole world, after he took advantage of his country’s Gender Identity Law to change his name to ‘Sergia’ and register himself as a female, allegedly so he could retire from his job five years earlier. His intentions were made public by a relative of Lazarovich, who contacted Argentinian media, telling reporters that throughout his life Sergio had only been romantically involved with women, and continued to have heterosexual relationships even after applying for the gender change.
That’s not really a valid complaint there. Desiring to shag women is not an accurate identifier of being male after all. The existence of homosexual men proves that in one manner, of lesbians in another. And Bruce – Caitlyn if you prefer – Jenner has pointed out that while definitely female there’s going to be no tackle coming off given the intensity of the desire to shag women rather than comfort their organs in less traditional manners.
Tracking the story back we get to Spanish language sources which accord with the Mail’s reading. One of those things not always a certainty, the coincidence between a Mail story and reality. Of course some others are just riffing off the Mail:
According to a relative identified as Enzo, reported Informate Salta, the 60-year-old Argentinian tax worker – now known as Sergia – didn’t make the change because of some long-simmering psychological turmoil about his identity, but instead switched so he could retire five years earlier, a move he has been contemplating for three years.
Argentina sets the retirement age at 60 for female state workers and 65 for males.
Again, at one level this is simply a giggle at someone driving coach and horses through ill thought through changes to the world. The more important part though is this difficulty of those attempts to change the world. Recall Tony Blair sofaizing one day on how archaic the office of Lord Chancellor was thus abolish it in this Cool Britannia. Only to realise after the announcement, aided by the barrage of noise from those who knew what they were talking about, that the office is so intertwined into the basic British system that it just doesn’t work without someone holding said office. It had to be reinvented therefore, pretty pronto. Just so that we had someone called Lord Chancellor.
Societies are complex things, change one bit in a fit of inspired progressivism and we’ve got to change rather a lot of other things. For example, perhaps it is just and righteous that blokes who think themselves to be women should be called women. Why not, what does that matter to the rest of us? But does that mean that they then also gain all those other privileges of femaledom? Earlier pensions ages where those exist? Maternity pay, well, that can be tied pretty closely to actual evidence of ovaries and wombs. But which prison should they serve in if it comes to that? And how much surgery should be required for that differentiation? There is actually, in a British prison right now, a convicted rapist who declared femaleness, was transferred to a women’s prison where there were complaints about his overly aggressive use of his still intact and undrugged tackle.
There are other things possibly simpler, like not referring such changelings for smear tests but continuing, perhaps, to run prostate ones.
I am not, at all, saying that sex changes shouldn’t happen. Nor that the run of implications can’t or won’t be managed over time. Nor even that we must have an answer to them before we grant that legal freedom to decide and change. What I am insisting though is that this is, writ small perhaps, an example of the impossibility of planning a society. It’s all just too complex, too chaotic even, for any central authority to be able to manage it in advance.
At which point we should all be grateful to Sergia Lazarovicha. The world’s current argument against socialist economics, Sergio Lazarovich.