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Meanings of gender and sex have evolved faster than Title IX

November 22, 2018

Re: “Transgender protections threatened,” Editorial, Nov. 16:

In my opinion, this editorial conflates the separate but related issues of an individual’s gender versus his or her biologically determined sex.

The terms “gender” and “sex” have evolved. Nowadays, gender refers primarily to an individual’s self-image, and how personality and sexual preferences are expressed. Biological sex has become subordinate to gender expression — now you are indeed accepted as who you feel and say you are.

However, our biological sex is determined at conception and is a binary concept rooted in our genetic makeup and manifested by the genitalia present at birth, notwithstanding the existence of rare atypical genomes. That’s just science as we know it.

Unless some all-powerful CRISPR-like genetic-modification process is developed, an individual’s genetic makeup and sex will remain immutable. If an individual chooses to express themselves with a gender identity other than their biological sex, that’s perfectly OK in our society. Although undergoing sex reassignment surgery may contribute to realization of individual desires or preferences, it has no bearing on biological sex.

There is good reason to officially and permanently record an infant’s biological sex at birth. The ability to positively identify an individual as biologically male or female throughout their lifetime may be crucial to ensuring proper medical treatment, solving crimes or identifying remains, just to name a few possibilities. For instance, unresolved differences between birth records of missing persons and DNA findings of an unidentified victim of the California wildfires could forever prevent closure for a grieving family.

Title IX, the main topic of the piece, was created to provide protections for certain members of society in response to perceived inequities and discrimination. Passage of time tends to render most laws less effective as society evolves, and so it is with Title IX. As written, it certainly is not adequate to cope with the rise and acceptance of gender/identity politics. It must either be amended or repealed and replaced so the universal protections called for in this editorial can be provided fairly.

To achieve buy-in, serious thought and debate are urgently needed from all of us, and our elected representatives must then be charged with embodying the consensus in appropriate legislative action without delay.

Steve White is a San Antonio resident.

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