On Sunday, the New York Times reported a shocking story: The Trump administration had defined transgender people out of existence. How, exactly, could a government entity simply make an entire population cohort disappear? Did they alleviate gender-identity disorder? Did Vice President Mike Pence enact The Handmaid’s Tale?
No, it turns out that the Trump administration simply defined “sex” as biological sex. You know, the actual definition of the word “sex.”
The New York Times headlined thusly: “‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration.” How would this massive human-rights violation take place? According to the Times:
The Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a governmentwide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law.
Now, we should pause here for some definitions. The political Left and its allies in the media routinely and dishonestly shift the definition of the word “gender.” Sometimes, they mean “feminine or masculine characteristics,” regardless of biological sex; sometimes, they mean biological sex. This confusion is key to transgender-rights arguments. If “gender” simply means the behavioral manifestations of femininity or masculinity, without regard to sex, then there are an infinite number of possible genders — each individual human being manifests these traits differently. If “gender” refers to biological sex, there are only two genders, and, very rarely, intersex people. But the Left simply says that gender is not connected with sex (a man can be a gendered woman, meaning effeminate). But then it switches the terminology, claiming that gender is connected with sex after all (a male who is a “gendered” woman is a woman). This is rhetorical and logical slight-of-hand.
The Obama administration tried to make it legal slight of hand, too. The Obama administration took the clear language of Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which bans discrimination in education based on sex, and then redefined sex as gender unconnected with sex — a complete eradication of the original meaning of the text. Under that standard, a woman who was discriminated against on the basis of sex by a school — say, a woman who was denied admission at Harvard based on her sex — was in the same legal situation as a man who claimed he was a woman and was thus denied admission to a women’s school such as Wellesley. That’s insane, and it’s obviously unintended by anyone who proposed or voted for Title IX. In fact, it carves the heart out of Title IX by eliminating the reality of sex entirely.
But according to the Times, pointing this out “defines transgenders out of existence.” Here’s how the Times reports this:
A series of decisions by the Obama administration loosened the legal concept of gender in federal programs, including in education and health care, recognizing gender largely as an individual’s choice and not determined by the sex assigned at birth.
First off, there is no “sex assigned at birth.” Doctors don’t get together and simply “assign” a sex at birth. I know. I’ve been present at the births of both my children, and there was no medical conference to “assign” sex. Sex is biological. End of story. But according to the Obama administration, your subjective perception of your sex (what they term “gender,” at least sometimes) should be protected by Title IX in a way that your objective sex should not be, since women’s colleges should now be forced to accept men who say they are women, for example.
The Trump administration, however, restored some sense of sanity to this enterprise by using an objective measure of sex rather than the thoughts and feelings of subjective human beings. The Department of Education argues that sex ought to be defined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” In other words, sex ought to have an objectively observable definition.
This is the extent of the great evil that the Trump administration supposedly perpetrated against those suffering from gender-identity disorder. But that’s not a great evil at all. That’s called reality. If Democrats wish to change Title IX by explicitly amending it to include protection for effeminate behavior by biological men, or masculine behavior by biological women, or to protect self-attributed “gender identity,” by all means, they can go for it. But to simply rewrite the law along the lines of illogical leftist groupthink is a violation of any constitutional system. It happens to be bad policy as well.
But the propagandizing won’t stop. Look at this comment from Catherine E. Lhamon, the political hack who led the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights under Obama:
This takes a position that what the medical community understands about their patients — what people understand about themselves — is irrelevant because the government disagrees.
The conflation of “what the medical community understands about their patients” with “what people understand about themselves” is utterly anti-scientific trash. In no other arena of medicine would we take the self-perception of a patient over an actual objective diagnosis. But here we’re supposed to, and we’re supposed to declare that such a standard-free subjective definition is based in science.
If Democrats want to run on their anti-science agenda, they should go ahead and do it. If the media want to back their play, they should go ahead and do it. But nobody should make the utterly dishonest suggestion that willful, illegal rewriting of law to back overtly political priorities amounts to either answerable government or supportable science.