Why the Department of Health and Human Services New Definition of Gender is Foolish and Short-sighted
The Department of Health and Human Services is attempting to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance. They claim that the purpose of the effort is to adopt an explicit and uniform definition of gender as determined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” The problem is that they are rejecting established science that proves that gender often cannot be so clearly defined. The proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with.
More information on this proposal can be found at the following locations.
- ‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration
- NY Times: Trump Wants to Define Transgender Out of Existence
- Trump administration trying to define transgender out of existence – report
- Trump admin said to refine legal definition of gender, putting transgender gains at risk: NY Times
The problem is that gender is not black or white. There are times in which the genitals that a person is born with are not reliable indicators of gender. Some examples of situations in which genitals that a person is born with are not reliable indicators of gender are as follows.
Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome
Androgen insensitivity syndrome is a condition that affects sexual development before birth and during puberty. People with this condition are genetically male, with one X chromosome and one Y chromosome in each cell. Because their bodies are unable to respond to certain male sex hormones (called androgens), they may have mostly female external sex characteristics or signs of both male and female sexual development.
Source: Genetics Home Reference:Androgen insensitivity syndrome
It’s possible for one person to have two different sets of DNA. In some cases a person may have both male and female DNA in their bodies. In other words, some cells are male and other cells are female.
For more information see the following.
- It’s possible for one person to have two different sets of DNA — here’s how it happens
- Chimera from Encyclopedia Britannica
Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) is a group of inherited genetic disorders that affect the adrenal glands, a pair of walnut-sized organs above your kidneys. A person with CAH lacks one of the enzymes the adrenal glands use to produce hormones that help regulate metabolism, the immune system, blood pressure and other essential functions.
Source: Mayo Clinic: Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
There are various conditions that led to a child being born with both male and female characteristics. These children were once referred to as hermaphrodites. Currently they are often referred to as intersex.
For more information see the following.
- ‘We don’t know if your baby’s a boy or a girl’: growing up intersex
- Ambiguous genitalia
- Intersex Society of North America: Frequently Asked Questions
- When a Person Is Neither XX nor XY: A Q&A with Geneticist Eric Vilain
Swyer syndrome is a rare disorder characterized by the failure of the sex glands (i.e., testicles or ovaries) to develop. For more information see National Organization for Rare Diseases: Swyer syndrome.
The proposed definition of gender is not based on science as the Department of Health and Human Services claims. It is in fact based on science denial and right-wing religious ideology.
In addition, there have been some studies that suggest that there are structural differences in the brains of transgendered individuals.
- Transgender brains are more like their desired gender from an early age
- Transgender brain scans promised as study shows structural differences in people with gender dysphoria
Face it. It’s a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world where gender is concerned, except for Lola.