Congratulations! The first New Year's baby born in New Bedford arrived at St. Luke's Hospital New Year's Day, early in the morning at 1:31 a.m. to Chrissie and Jason Soares. They welcomed Ethan Oliver Soares, who weighed nine pounds, four ounces and measured 22 inches.

Melissa and Kelvin Alves of Fall River, welcomed a baby girl, Khaya Amari, weighing eight pounds, eight ounces and measured 20 inches, at 12:59 a.m. on New Year's Day. Both families received a gift bag from the Auxiliary of both hospitals.

Both families, I'm assuming, have birth certificates showing the sex of their children. But with the new year comes new babies and new laws, like the one in New York City that now allows gender-neutral birth certificates.

Residents in New York City have a new option for denoting a new gender on their birth certificates: gender "X."

The new law allows people to change their birth certificates to "X" by attesting that it reflects their true gender identity. Parents also can choose "X" for newborns who can't speak for themselves.

Does this reform diminish the significance of birth certificates, because they can now change historical truth? I thought the primary purpose of a birth certificate is to provide verification of a person's biological and legal identity. Isn't that necessary for Social Security, Medicare, drivers licenses and passports? They only use "M" and "F." You'd have to get massive policy changes on the federal level, and if you were a man 25 years ago and changed it, wouldn't that complicate benefits?

In my opinion, you can't keep accurate records if you don't have an accurate representation of someone.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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