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

gender

Lots of sites, including three scientific societies, have rejected the new Health and Human Services guidelines that provide a classification of a person’s sex into two categories. But these sites, and now an article in the prestigious journal Nature, conflate “sex”—which I take as biological sex recognized in humans by chromosomal constitution, which gametes you produce, and secondary sex characteristics—with “gender”, which I take as “the sex that an individual identifies with, whether or not it corresponds to their biological sex”.

Nature conflates gender and sex several times, to wit:

The proposal — on which HHS officials have refused to comment — is a terrible idea that should be killed off. It has no foundation in science and would undo decades of progress on understanding sex — a classification based on internal and external bodily characteristics — and gender, a social construct related to biological differences but also rooted in culture, societal norms and individual behaviour.

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Yes, ideas of gender may be outdated—we now know well that someone’s self-identity may not correspond to their biological sex—but not of sex. Please, Nature, stop distorting biology in the service of ideology. It’s neither seemly nor necessary, as we can protect transgender and intersexual individuals without deep-sixing the sexual binary that has served biology so well.

Related article:  Scientific, social and ethical barriers must be overcome before the world is ready for CRISPR babies, researchers say

Read full, original post: The journal Nature conflates sex and gender, decries “pigeonholing” people even though we do—and must

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