//Links 10/22/18

Links 10/22/18

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Re: Trump Administration Eyes Defining Transgender Out of Existence NYT

“Gender identity” has become an issue that is severely dividing feminism. Title IX originally referred to sex, as in biological sex, in order to prevent sex-based discrimination. Title IX has been the primary basis for supporting equal support for girl’s sports & activities in schools. The Obama administration changed Title IX to include “gender identity” as a basis for non-discrimination, which is a fine goal, but it brings with it the significant problem: how to maintain access for women and girls to sex-segregated activities and spaces?

In the case of minor children, trans-identification is largely independent of medical transition as minors cannot have gender-confirmation (sex change) surgery. Trans-identified children may be on puberty suppression drugs and/or cross-sex hormones, but they may not be. So a child born male may simply state that their “gender identity” is female in order to have full access to spaces and activities usually reserved for female-born children.

This situation is proving much more fraught than many would like to believe. Many schools have rules forbidding parents from being informed that biological males will be sharing accommodations or facilities with girls. Biological males are directly competing against girls in high school sports, with devastating results (for the girls).

Due to the considerable influence of radical transactivists, stating that biological sex is important is now considered transphobic. We’re told that we must believe that “sex is a spectrum” and that basing rights on biology is “reducing people to their genitals.” But “gender identity” is not supported by current scientific knowledge of human sexual development. Humans are sexually dimorphic: two sexes, males and females. There are individuals who have disorders of sexual development (aka “intersex,”) but these disorders do not negate the essential basis of two, and only two, human sexes.

“Gender” and “sex” are not synonymous. Gender can refer to male or female (sex), but it more widely refers to gender roles, e.g. masculinity and femininity, and how those roles define an individual human’s place in their society. This view, as I noted above, is now considered transphobic and as such any feminist who attempts to defend rights for females as a protected class are now lumped with evangelical Christians and far-right reactionaries. (Transgender identification refers to gender roles, not biology. A human being cannot change their birth sex, although they can more closely align their appearance with the opposite sex through medical and social transition.)

Here’s just a single recent example of the “problematic” attempt to align gender identity with female-specific activities (apologies for the Reddit link, but the commentary is quite illuminating):


MacKinnon, a mediocre male athlete, made record time against top female cyclists. This “female” champion claims that they have no advantage whatever from being born and developing male, and complains that requirements for reduction of serum testosterone is violation of their civil rights. This is just the latest example of male-born people wiping out female athletic records.

Another link, with detailed stats on the significant disparity of physical performance between male and female athletes:


Title IX is essential guidance for sex-based protections. “Gender identity” is not a sound basis for determining rights of male and female people. I despise supporting anything that Trump’s administration favors but the Obama-era change of Title IX was, IMHO, a serious mistake, and if it is allowed to persist then women’s and girls’ sports, as well as other sex-based protections in the public sphere, are pretty well doomed.