American Sociological Association Expresses Strong Objection to Newly Proposed Legal Definition of Sex, Due to Risk of Transgender Discrimination


Newswise — According to a memo obtained by The New York Times on October 21, the Department of Health and Human Services is seeking to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX based on “a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” The proposed definition would allow only a binary classification that is immutable and based on genitalia at birth. ASA sent a letter to the Secretary of DHHS expressing strong objection to this proposal which fails to reflect the findings from extensive sociological literature on this subject. Such a policy stands to have detrimental impacts on the physical and mental health of transgender and intersex individuals. Indeed, this definition is not grounded in science.

From the letter:

"Sociologists have long understood that sex exists on a spectrum, rather than as a binary. The scientific community, including both social and biological scientists, recognizes intersex people and has denounced attempts to force intersex children into binary sex categories through nonconsensual surgeries.

Moreover, sociologists and other members of the scientific community have long recognized that gender identity is not determined by the sex one is labeled at birth or by chromosomal configuration. Scientific organizations, from the American Medical Association to the American Psychological Association, have a consensus view that gender identity is a spectrum that reflects a person’s felt sense of self. The definition proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services goes against decades of scientific research. In making this definitional shift, the DHHS will not only deny the rights of the 1.4 million Americans who identify as transgender, but their very existence."

Read the full letter here.

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