On Oct. 21, the New York Times reported that, under President Donald Trump, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is leading an effort to legally define gender “as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth.”
When you were born, a doctor likely looked up from a clipboard at you, then went back down and, in a box labeled “SEX,” wrote either an M or an F.
Now, there is an important distinction to be made during discussions like these that I still see many of my peers fail to recognize – sex and gender are not synonyms.
According to the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, sex is determined by the “biological differences between males and females,” whereas gender is “the continuum of complex psychosocial self-perceptions, attitudes, and expectations people have about members of both sexes.”
It takes time for someone to discover their identity, and for some, their identities are constantly shifting.
I’m cisgender, meaning the gender I identify with coincides with the sex I was assigned at birth.
I didn’t choose to be, but I’m one of the lucky ones who isn’t directly targeted by Trump – similarly, those who are targeted definitely didn’t choose to be.
What Trump and the HHS are aiming to do is make sex and gender the same thing in the eyes of the law – which would more or less wipe away the validity of people who identify as transsexual, nonbinary, or genderfluid.
They’re telling a significant population of people of all ages that their identity doesn’t exist – that they’re all cis.
In America, kids are told countless times to be themselves. With this proposal, the Trump administration has made it clear that the only people who should be themselves are cis people.
I feel as though we need to make one thing abundantly clear to Trump and the HHS – the gender someone happens to identify with has absolutely no effect on anyone else and there is no reason other than hate or fear to define “gender” so concretely.
So, to anyone who thinks this is a good idea, I’m not going to use this platform to attack you. I know this is a relatively new idea to many and it’s hard for some people to wrap their heads around. But at the end of the day, this is about basic human rights, decency, and respect.
Maybe you think systematic hate like this is somehow justified, or maybe you don’t even see the hate. You need to understand that the hate is real, and it’s not justified.
It never is.
Every member of the trans, non-binary, and gender-fluid communities who I’ve had the pleasure to know are truly kindhearted people, and they need to know that they are valid.
You exist and we hear your voices.
Trump, the HHS, and people supporting this notion need to think about these humans as humans and if they can, think about their position – would you want your government to deny your existence?