The Trump Administration of the United States is reportedly considering defining Gender as rather a biological, immutable condition determined by one’s genitalia at birth.
This is considered to be the most drastic and hypocritical decision yet in a recent government body, enrolled in effort to reverse the recognition and protection for Transgender communities of the United States under federal civil rights law.
According to a memo by The New York Times, the Department of Health and Human Services is fore-fronting an effort to establish a legal definition for Sex under ‘Title IX’, the federal civil rights law that bans Gender discrimination in education programs that receive Government financial assistance.
During the time of former President Barak Obama, the Obama Administration loosened the legal concept of Gender in all federal programs, inclusive of education and health care, recognizing Gender to be an individual’s choice and shall not be determined by one’s sex assigned at birth. The policy prompted to overrule fights over bathrooms, dormitories, single-sex programs and other relevant bodies where Gender was viewed as a simple concept. Amongst conservatives, especially, evangelical Christians, the stigma towards Gender norms is high.
The United Nations define Gender to be social attributes and opportunities associated with being male and female and the relationships between women and men and girls and boys, as well as the relations between women and those between men. These attributes, opportunities and relationships are ‘socially constructed’ and are learned through socialization processes. They are context / time-specific and changeable. Gender determines what is expected, allowed and valued in a women or a man in a given context. In most societies there are differences and inequalities between women and men in responsibilities assigned, activities undertaken, access to and control over resources, as well as decision-making opportunities. Gender is part of the broader socio-cultural context. Other important criteria for socio-cultural analysis include class, race, poverty level, ethnic group and age.
According to a review by The Times, the Department of Health and Human Services argued in its memo that key Government agencies needed to adopt and explicit and uniform definition for Gender, as determined ‘on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.’ The definition proposed by the agency would define Sex as either male or female, excluding the intersex communities, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with, and any dispute about one’s sex would have to be clarified using genetic testing.
As Human Rights activists protest the White House’s reported effort to define Gender as an unchangeable stance from birth, the American Transgender communities express their fears of what may come.