Last week, The New York Times reported — oh horror! — that President Donald Trump is returning the definition of “sex” in federal law to the commonsense and biological meaning of male and female the term had since time immemorial, until just yesterday. The Times breathlessly reported that Trump’s move would “erase” transgender people. This week, companies, universities, and scientists jumped on the “Resistance” bandwagon over the issue.
Transgender identity has critics on the Right (concerned about confusing children and putting women and girls at risk) and the Left (among radical feminists who link transgenderism to “rape culture” and “conversion therapy“).
Congress could pass a law adding “gender identity” to “sex” on the list of protected characteristics, following the democratic process for achieving this change. Instead, Barack Obama unilaterally redefined the term, which Congress clearly intended to mean biological sex. Obama, not Trump, is the undemocratic innovator in this case.
Yet, in an exercise of topsiturvidom that would impress George Orwell, big businesses like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and JP Morgan Chase have teamed up with hundreds of scientists and universities like Princeton and Rutgers to criticize Trump for imposing a “restrictive” view of sex.
Activists have glossed over important issues in their rush to normalize transgender identity. Transgender “treatments” — hormone therapy and the more drastic surgery — have left people scarred. Hormones increase the risk of deep-vein thrombosis (for men on estrogen) and ovarian cysts (for women on testosterone). Max Robinson, a 21-year-old woman who once identified as a man, regrets having taken male hormones and removing her breasts, calling such “treatments” “not a cure at all.”
The science behind transgenderism is shoddy at best. At the genetic level, human beings are either male or female. Sex is biologically geared toward reproduction, and therefore is inherently binary — as children result from one male and one female.
“They are trying to recreate humanity in terms of cis and trans, instead of male and female,” Dr. Michelle Cretella, executive director of the American College of Pediatricians, told PJ Media in September. This new idea makes “our bodies meaningless. But our bodies mean everything. They tell us who and what we are, scientifically, concretely.”
None of this is to deny that people who identify as transgender are people, have basic rights, and should be treated with respect. They may need legal protections, and both sides should debate the issue. Powerful people are avoiding that debate, teaming up to effectively erase the human body, and claiming that Trump’s defense of biology, common sense, and democratic norms is actually “erasing” transgender people.
1. Tech companies.
On Thursday, 56 powerful American companies published a statement opposing “any administrative and legislative efforts to erase transgender protections through reinterpretation of existing laws and regulations.”
“We, the undersigned businesses, stand with the millions of people in America who identify as transgender, gender non-binary, or intersex, and call for all such people to be treated with the respect and dignity everyone deserves,” the companies declared in the statement.
The companies noted that “in the last two decades, dozens of federal courts have affirmed the rights and identities of transgender people.” They argued that a “growing medical and scientific consensus” upholds transgender identity. This alleged consensus, pushed by activists and potentially dangerous (drugs that work best for women do not work best for men who identify as women), has emerged rapidly and forcefully.
The companies argued that “policies that force people into a binary gender definition determined by birth anatomy fail to reflect the complex realities of gender identity and human biology.” The only “complex realities” of human biology involve the tragic disabilities of intersex people. This is not an identity, but a medical condition that does not invalidate the gender binary.
The companies insisted, “Transgender people are our beloved family members and friends, and our valued team members. What harms transgender people harms our companies.”
Fifty-six companies signed the statement, including Amazon, Apple, Bank of America, Citigroup, Coca-Cola, Facebook, Google, JPMorgan Chase, LinkedIn, Lyft, Microsoft, Nike, Pepsi, Twitter, and Uber.
Many of these tech companies have also teamed up with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a far-Left smear organization that brands mainstream conservative and Christian groups “hate groups” over disagreements with the SPLC’s liberal positions. The SPLC has pressured tech companies to remove “hate speech” from their platforms. Amazon is already facing a lawsuit for excluding so-called “hate groups” from its Amazon Smile charity program.
Since the SPLC aims to fight “hate,” companies rushed to send money to it following the white nationalist riots in Charlottesville, Va. last year. Apple pledged $1 million to the organization, while J.P. Morgan chipped in $500,000. Lyft also partnered with the smear group.
According to an analysis by Second Vote provided to PJ Media, companies such as Disney, Kraft Heinz, Charles Schwab, Progressive Insurance, Shell, and Verizon have matched their employees’ small-dollar donations to the SPLC. The big offenders are: Pfizer ($8,919.5 in 2013 and 2015); Bank of America, ($9,310 between 2013 and 2015); and Newman’s Own ($50,000 between 2013 and 2015).
A coalition of 14 transgender activist organizations also endorsed the statement, and likely pressured these companies to issue it.
Also on Thursday, three university leaders sent a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, urging her to preserve Barack Obama’s redefinition of sex in Title IX to include gender identity.
Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber, Rutgers University President Robert L. Barchi, and University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank urged DeVos to oppose the “narrow” biological definition of sex.
Eisgruber, Barchi, and Blank cited reports that “the Department of Health and Human Services is proposing to define sex under Title IX as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by a person’s genitals at birth.” They argued that “such a narrow and binary definition would have the effect of rolling back important protections against discrimination on the basis of gender and gender identity.”
It seems odd that these three university leaders would be utterly oblivious to the biological meaning of the term “sex,” or to the fact that Congresses from 1789 to at least 2015 would automatically have used the word “sex” to refer to this “narrow and binary definition” they seem to think utterly incomprehensible.
The university leaders went on to argue that legal “protections are important because transgender Americans in all parts fo the country, including students and others on our campuses, have faced discrimination, isolation, and harassment. Providing these protections is fully consistent with basic principles of fairness and respect for others, and it is also fully consistent with the guidance of the American medical community regarding the distinctions between sex, gender, and gender identity.”
Wait, did Eisgruber, Barchi, and Blank just admit that the terms “sex, gender, and gender identity” do not mean the same thing?! Why are they arguing for two definitions of sex — one as separate from gender as understood by the medical community, and one as inclusive of gender identity for the legal definition?
Again, these university leaders want transgender people protected, and there are good reasons to consider such protections. Instead of encouraging DeVos to perform an act of doublethink — seeing “sex” in federal law as inclusive of gender identity while the scientific term excludes gender — they should call on Congress to write actual laws that would explicitly protect transgender people, unlike the historic civil rights laws that were intended to protect men and women.
The university leaders defended “efforts to ensure that our campuses are welcoming and supportive for all students, including transgender students, faculty, and staff,” suggesting that unless DeVos were to accept the false definition of sex they themselves rejected, she would be sending a message that transgender people were “unwelcome.”
Transgender issues are tough to navigate, and it would be unjust and unwise to twist federal law rather than allowing Congress to handle these complex issues. American schools and colleges should accept and help all students, regardless of their gender identity, but that should not entail allowing biological males to abuse girls in a girls’ restroom (as happened in Georgia in 2016).
Toward the end of October, 1,642 scientists argued that accepting Congress’s definition of biological sex as enshrined in American law would be a heinous violation of human rights.
“As scientists, we are compelled to write to you, our elected representatives, about the current administration’s proposal to legally define gender as a binary condition determined at birth, based on genitalia, and with plans to clarify disputes using ‘genetic testing,'” the scientists wrote. “This proposal is fundamentally inconsistent not only with science, but also with ethical practices, human rights, and basic dignity” (emphasis original).
Note the immediate subterfuge: the word in the law is “sex,” not “gender identity.” The administration is not attempting to define “gender identity” as a “binary condition.” Gender identity is irrelevant. It was The New York Times and all these activists who mistakenly substituted “gender identity” for “sex,” which is the word in the law.
These activists in lab coats argued that Trump’s “proposal is in no way ‘grounded in science’ as the administration claims. The relationship between sex chromosomes, genitalia, and gender identity is complex, and not fully understood. There are no genetic tests that can unambiguously determine gender, or even sex.”
As previously mentioned, the tragic condition of intersex is real. Some of these people do not have normal X and Y chromosomes, and some of them have male or female DNA but abnormal genitalia. Some of them had their genitals surgically altered after birth, so not all intersex people know they are intersex. Their existence does not undermine the sex binary, and they are being exploited in order to forward the transgender ideology, which involves normal males or females who wish to identify as the opposite sex.
The scientists argued that “the proposed policy seeks to erase the identities of millions of Americans who identify as transgender (individuals whose gender identification differs from their assigned sex at birth) or have intersex bodies (individuals with biologically atypical patterns of male and female traits).” Again, this is false. Protecting people on the basis of their biological sex — which is natural, not “assigned” — does not “erase” any “identity.”
Tragically, transgender activists have infiltrated many medical fields. This may pose serious problems, because biological males and biological females develop differently, and if they are treated as the opposite sex that can cause serious health problems. Also, as previously mentioned, transgender “treatments” are experimental, and many people have rejected transgender identity after being rushed through these “treatments.”
The desperate need for a debate.
These companies, university leaders, and scientists all attempted to use their positions of power to enforce one legal definition of “sex” that goes against biology, commonsense, and the rule of law. The university leaders even tacitly admitted the falseness of their ridiculous Orwellian demand by noting the scientific distinctions between “sex” and “gender.”
Most likely, these powerful people mean well — they are attempting to protect people who identify as transgender, people who are indeed vulnerable and stigmatized. Unfortunately, in their haste to protect these people, these activists are pushing an agenda that endangers women and girls, that has been said to “erase” lesbians, and that teaches children false and dangerous notions that biological sex can be made to follow gender identity.
There is more than one compassionate way to handle these issues, but more and more people are being convinced by powerful interest groups that LGBT issues are all lumped together and that they involve a battle of good progress against evil regressive bigots.
Americans need to respond, to pressure these companies, universities, and scientists to take another look at these issues. Americans also need to start a national dialogue about how to protect transgender people without endangering women and girls and without erasing the reality of binary biological sex.
These companies, university leaders, and scientists should be ashamed of their Orwellian attempt to force their preferences on the American people, who voted through their representatives to protect people on the basis of biological sex, not gender identity.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.