Why gender evades easy definitions regardless of what the Trump administration says

trump transgender memo policy gender sex definition
Image credit: Time
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According to a recent report in the New York Times, the Department of Health and Human Services is “considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth.” While the department’s memo purports to be “grounded in science,” the arguments and conclusions are not. Specifically, the memo argues that sex should be determined by—at different points in the purported memo—birth certificates, genitals and genetics. The problem with this argument is that none of these markers of sex is “definitive proof of a person’s sex” and in fact, nothing is.

It turns out that while most people end up with either an X and Y or two Xs, not everyone does. For example, some people get two Xs and a Y. Is such an individual male or female according to the proposed HHS changes?

Related article:  Viewpoint: Science needs to embrace the difference between sex and gender—without abandoning the past

These cases, along with other known cases in which a person’s genitalia cannot be categorized as clearly male or female, are just a few of the many individuals whose identities are ignored by the memo and whose very existence—along with transgender people—calls into question the claims of the memo.

We are not policy makers, but we can say that any policy that divides the world into two sexes—male versus female—will not be “grounded in science.”

Read full, original post: The Trump Administration’s Proposed “Redefinition” of Gender Is Scientifically Absurd

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