I minored in biology for my undergraduate degree. I got my graduate degree in preventative medicine. I’ve worked in healthcare as a medical transcriptionist, diligently recording doctors and their patients’ conversations. I am also LGBTQIA and identify as gender-nonconforming. The concept of “anatomical sex” is the polite way of asking what body were you born with (genitals, chromosomes, and hormones). Transgender individuals (both transitionary and non-binary) may take hormonal injections and engage in heavy body modification to calm their dysphoria, which is extremely important when learning a patient’s history to better understand what is going on (the reason why they were brought to the hospital).
Some LGBTQIA members are offended by the idea of “anatomical sex”, but this is the most tactful way I’ve seen it done in the doctor’s office. People knee-deep in queer (LGBTQIA) theory also seemingly forget that the doctor’s office is not the place to argue gender or sex related concepts. Doctors only want to know what body parts you have, to better do their job, not to be a jerk to you. Doctors only want to know what body parts you have to give the proper preventative advice (such as pre-cancer screening tests). Doctors only want to know what body parts you have so if something does go drastically wrong to said body parts (such as ectopic pregnancy), they have a chance to save your life.
I understand how delicate the conversation needs to be about gender and sex, espicially when dealing with medical matters. However, doctors aren’t interested in arguing about gender identity politics or anything similar. They just want to know if you have a penis or vagina to better understand what is going wrong with your body. Different diseases are more common in different sexes, which is critical when coming to differential diagnosis. It is also important from a history aspect. If say certain types of cancer are more common (when it comes to male vs female) on side of the family, they will know to be on the lookout for early presenting symptoms of said disease.
The intersex community is often erased all together from both society and medicine. “Corrective” surgeries are often done on intersex babies, solely for cosmetic reasons. It is vital to know if a patient is intersex or not because being intersex can have specific diseases associated with it (such as Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, CAH).
If a medical staff member (nurse, doctor, physician’s assistant, etc.) purposely misgenders their patient, that is an offense that can get the reported. If a medical staff member purposely uses the wrong pronouns, that is an offense that can get them reported. Whenever I was working as a transcriptionist, one of the first things we documented was “male, female, intersex” in the medical documentation. Did I worry if I mis-gendered patients in the notes? Absolutely. Every single note I did, I worried about this. I worried if I used their preffered pronouns. However, from a medical point of view, I completely why anatomical sex is needed to be known in order to give the proper diagnosis and treatment plan. However, these notes are never seen by the patient, unless something goes wrong and the patient sues the doctor.