From The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/22/health/transgender-trump-biology.html
By Denise Grady
Oct. 22, 2018
Defining gender as a condition determined strictly by a person’s genitals is based on a notion that doctors and scientists abandoned long ago as oversimplified and often medically meaningless.
Researchers who have studied gender issues and provided health care to people who do not fit the typical M/F pigeonholes said that the Trump administration’s latest plan to define gender goes beyond the limits of scientific knowledge.
“The idea that a person’s sex is determined by their anatomy at birth is not true, and we’ve known that it’s not true for decades,” said Dr. Joshua D. Safer, an endocrinologist and executive director of the Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery at Mount Sinai Health System in New York. He is also president of the United States Professional Association of Transgender Health.
But exactly what does determine gender identity — a person’s powerful, core knowledge of who they are — is not so clear.
“We know that there is a significant, durable biological underpinning to gender identity,” Dr. Safer said. “What we don’t know are all of the biological factors at play that explain gender identity. As far as we in the mainstream biological-medical community understand it in 2018, it is hard-wired, it is biological, it is not entirely hormonal, and we do not have identified genes, so we cannot specifically say it is genetic.”
Are genes a factor?
Genetics does play a role, though. In studies of twins, if one is transgender, the other is far more likely to also be transgender if they are identical, rather than fraternal twins. Identical twins are near matches, genetically; fraternal ones are not. The findings are similar for twins who have Type 1 diabetes, which is known to have a strong genetic component.
The Trump administration’s proposal, outlined in a memo by the Health and Human Services Department, would 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. The change would eliminate protections afforded transgender people under the Obama administration.
The agency’s proposed definition would be determined by the genitals that a person is born with, according to a draft reviewed by The New York Times. Whatever is on the birth certificate defines gender, “unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence,” according to the memo.
But what would constitute reliable evidence?
Continue reading at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/22/health/transgender-trump-biology.html