"Gender" is not a synonym for "sex". THINGS have "genders", PEOPLE don't have "genders". People have "sexes".
"Gender" refers to the artificial or stereotypical categorization of certain words, ideas, abilities, and other things as having traits like or being associated with a "sex" -- "feminine" (associated with the female sex), "masculine" (associated with the male sex), or "neuter" (neutral, associated with neither sex).
"Sex" refers to the biological role that the individual plays in reproduction. There are only two of these roles, "male" and "female". That is not altered because some people cannot reproduce because of age, because of injury, because of disease, or because they have a chromosomal or hormonal developmental anomaly. The latter is a birth defect, not a mere variation. Such people are not of another "sex". Why? Because there are only two reproductive roles, and that is what the word "sex" refers to.
At the point at which it became recognized that no matter how much one mutilates one's body, and no matter how one dresses or behaves or superficially appears, one cannot change one's sex (frequently called "biological sex", a redundancy), the term "transsexual" fell from the public discourse and in its place came the cynical and politically-motivated usage "transgender" -- which apparently requires nothing more than proclaiming oneself to "be" or "have" a "gender", without regard for biology, while also redefining the word "gender" to encompass all kinds of made-up concepts that it does not.
Arbitrary gender associations once were core ideas that women's rights advocates railed against. (Some still do.) But now Caitlyn Jenner and his corset and lipstick and the rest of the "extreme transvestite" ilk (see below) have succeeded in trashing classic feminist ideology with their psychobabble.
At a dinner conversation a few years ago, two companions posited that people such as Jenner "feel like women" and thus they want to present as female. My friends were stymied when I asked how would a feted athlete who won the Olympic decathlon, fathered children, and lived for decades as a heterosexual married man, have a clue what it "feels like" to be a woman? (How do any of us know for certain what it "feels like" to be something or someone else?) There is no such thing. This notion of "how someone feels inside" is pure nonsense. Delusional. Make-believe.
There are a very few people who are so sexually ambiguous that it's difficult to say that they are one or the other sex. Given that, it's valid for these people to choose to change themselves outwardly in order to look to others as one or the other sex if they want to, especially when their prior "sex presentation" as a child arbitrarily was chosen for them -- but this involves a miniscule number of people who are biological anomalies. (Generally, any person who has a "Y" chromosome is male. AIS XYs are a special case that heretofore have caused no great social dilemmas. Also see re 5-alpha reductase deficiency, below.)
Some people would like to pretend that people who have birth defects causing sexual ambiguity or chromosomal/hormonal (genetic) abnormalities resulting in infertility are of "other sexes". But that is spurious, since there still are only two reproductive roles, and that is what the word "sex" refers to.
The reproductive process is "binary". That means that there are only two choices. There are two "sexes". The word "binary" does not apply to individuals, but to reproduction.
Although some insects are said to have three sexes, such as bees -- queen (female), drone (male), and worker (undeveloped females, i.e. still only two reproductive roles), and some plant and animal species are hermaphroditic (still only two), and some plants and animals can shift their biological reproductive role as circumstances dictate (still only two), nothing like that applies to higher-order animals.
"Men" cannot ever give birth. If you have female reproductive parts and gave birth, you are a WOMAN, female. If you reproduced by providing sperm, you are a MAN, male. Period.
No human being is sexually "binary" or "fluid". If a person is ambiguously intersexed and does not want this birth defect made obvious to the outside world at large, then the solution is to just pick one or the other sex and go along with whatever social outward appearance is easier or feels more comfortable. The claim by some individuals that they are "non-binary" is inherently silly, even as a newly-coined euphemism for announcing that one is intersexed.
It is reproduction, not individuals, that is "binary". The word refers to the two normal, natural reproductive roles. No individual human being is reproductively "binary". Since no human being is "binary", no individual can be "non-binary". "Sex" (a noun that refers to the reproductive role) is not on some kind of "spectrum". "Gender", which doesn't apply to people in the first place, also is not a "spectrum". There is no "spectrum" any more than we validly could say that a person born without limbs is just a normal representative human being on some kind of "limb spectrum".
"Gender" is not "binary" but "ternary", and the third option is an "it". To recognize that some tiny percentage of people are so ambiguous that they cannot reasonably be considered to be even mostly one or the other sex, and thus are of "neither sex" might be accurate, but this is unpopular with the pronoun crowd. "Neither" already has a gendered pronoun, and that pronoun is "it", connoting an inanimate object. That is why you rarely will see the pronoun "it" appear on one of those lists of gender and pronoun "choices". Again, however, this problem does not mean that there are more than two sexes.
There well may be many aspects of society not directly related to reproduction as to which we could or should remove artificial distinctions of what are "for women" and what are "for men". Women's colleges? Athletic teams? (The reality of "the bell curve", see below, would kill "women's sports".) Women's affirmative action set-asides? (Uh-oh.) Military combat? (Perhaps when a woman can feel and function as a man does. On this issue, though, we're not permitted to say that women feel or behave differently from men; this claim is verboten in "progressive" circles, never mind the absurdity of the concurrent progressive notion that a man can "feel like" a woman, and vice versa.) But whether combat or public restroom usage falls into the category of mostly artificial and purposeless distinctions, or whether it behooves us to overturn social conventions for an insignificant number of outliers is a different discussion for another day.
None of this either has anything to do with someone's "sexuality" -- who or what he or she is sexually attracted to -- and so "trans-" ("fake") anything also does not belong in the categorization of "LGB...etc.etc.etc." Copulating (sort of) with a person of the same sex does not make one into a different sex. Gay men aren't women, and lesbians aren't men.
Wearing a dress and high heels doesn't make a male into a
female. It makes a transvestite, a man who makes a stereotyped mockery of womanhood by dressing up in artificial accoutrements
of cultural "femininity". Taking hormones or surgically removing a penis doesn't turn a male into a female --
it makes a mutilated and reproductively dysfunctional male, an extreme transvestite (and vice versa, female-to-male.) And, by the way. "Furry" et al. are not "genders". They are exhibitionistic displays of perverted sexualities. Mental illness.
People don't have "genders". People have "sexes".
There are two "sexes" -- male and female. (An extraordinarily tiny number of people are so chromosomally or otherwise genetically abnormal that which sex they are cannot be determined, but that does not make them some other kind of "sex".) "Sex" (the noun) refers to a reproductive role. It is not a synonym for "sexuality" or social behavior.
There are three "genders" -- masculine, feminine, and neuter -- which are, depending upon the language, applied to various words and other things that are male-like, or female-like, or neither.
Pronouns refer to their "sex" when we are referring to people and other reproductively sex-differentiated animals, and to their artificial or arbitrary "gender" ("masculine", "feminine", or "neither") when we are referring to non-living things. The pronoun for the latter is usually a form of the word "it", but gender is a language convention, so, for example, in the English language, a rock is an "it", but a ship might be referred to as a "she" (artificially "sexualized" as having female traits.) In other languages, conventions differ, so, for example, Spanish and Latin also genderize words other than pronouns. But those are WORDS that are being "genderized". Not people. Words, like "appearance", are THINGS.
"Gender" isn't a synonym for "sex" no matter how often it's used that way. It means something very different. The wokester propagandists know this, which is why they invented make-believe words like "cis-gender" ("gender" matches "sex"). (And see, above, "transsexual" versus "transgender".)
A "masculine woman" is still a "she". A "feminine man" is still a "he". The pronoun -- which is what is "gendered" -- refers to the individual's sex. (The adjective refers to artificial aspects of someone's "appearance", a thing -- see below.) Other people might (or might not -- a cause for trendy activist indignation) be fooled regarding what sex another person is. But no one can "recognize" any person's "gender" because people do not have "genders".
Now if some people want to invent another language, they are perfectly free to do so.
But they do not get the right to force others to speak it.
ABOUT THIS CONSTANT REDEFINING OF WORDS:
Language is for communication. Although it does evolve over time, when the meanings of words and understood conventions are muddled (even to the point at which a future Supreme Court Justice does not know what a "woman" is), when they are declared to be changed suddenly and arbitrarily, well that just undermines the ability to communicate. The deliberate sowing of confusion ("war is peace") is a good part of what this is about.
Some of the confusion also has been facilitated over the past few decades by the explosion in the usage of the word "gender" as an adjective, for example, "gender studies" -- how gender, or genderization of various THINGS (social customs and mores, dress codes, employment etc.) affects men and women differently. Academics transmogrified "women's studies" into "gender studies" (also adding the further distortion of "intersectionality"), but "sex studies" is something that would belong in the university biology department.
Lawyers and judges who ignorantly confound "gender" and "sex" are as much to blame as media and academic activists too, because they should know better. The "gender" in "gender discrimination", "gender-discriminatory law", "gender-neutral" law and the like modifies things -- actions, laws, policies, and so forth. Those actions, laws, and policies are not discriminating against anyone's "gender". The action, law, or policy is what is "gendered" and because of that, the action, law, or policy effects "sex" discrimination, i.e. discrimination against someone of one or the other SEX. Sloppy language usage in the law needs to stop. Some of this has been caused by a misguided Victorianish reluctance to use the word "sex", substituting "gender" as some kind of polite euphemism. Stop it, just stop it.
[This nonsense has been going on for a long time now. Example: In 1984 I wrote a letter to the editor of a legal publication. My use of the word "sex" stupidly was changed, and parroted in the headline, to "gender". See here.]
"Appearance" is not a synonym for "gender". Neither is behavior. These are things. No matter how much eyeshadow the former Bruce Jenner applies, he still is a "man." He, just like every other "drag queen", whether serious and subdued or adopted for comic or entertainment purposes, has a fake female "appearance". It's dress up. In our culture that "appearance" now may be feminine (have a "gender"), but Caitlyn Jenner himself does not have a "gender". Jenner has a "sex". No matter how he looks, he will never, ever be "a woman". No matter how he much he thinks (if he does) that he is woman on the "inside", he is not a woman. He was never a "girl". He is not female. He is a father and a grandfather. However he dresses, and no matter how much he may mutilate his body (although that Vogue cover corset thing was rather nauseating -- is that the epitome visual of womanhood?), he is not a woman.
If someone dresses up in a costume to look like an astronaut or a unicorn or a robot, that does not make him into an astronaut or a unicorn or a robot. Even if he really, really wants to be an astronaut or a unicorn or a robot. Even if he is delusional and actually "feels inside" that he is an astronaut or a unicorn or a robot -- or the King of Spain.
People do not have "genders".
And no one has any right unilaterally to change the language that others speak or to demand that they agree with any statement that is contrary to reality.
To those who want to be "offended". Lying is more "offensive". And so is, according to prevailing popular babble by the progressive crowd, the false appropriation of others' "identities".
Stop the nonsense. Stop it now.
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This webpage last was updated 05/08/23. The update was prompted by an article published recently in the Scientific American. Human "sexuality" or social behaviors may not be "binary", but reproduction most assuredly is. Insideous language distortion.
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About that "bell curve" mentioned above. When we are selecting for outliers in something such as sports or combat -- someone who is "the best", it's irrelevant how much overlap otherwise there may be between men and women. Depending on the skill set for which we are selecting, the best woman might be as good as or better than some or even most men, but she never will be better than the best men. And vice versa.
(Don't like this? Afraid that sex stereotyping might limit an individual's opportunities? Then stop the rah-rah exaltation of "identities" of multifarious kinds and support the implementation of pure merit selection systems -- equal opportunity, not "diversity" or "equity".)
More at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/epub/10.1080/0092623X.2022.2160396 [J. Cohn (2022) Some Limitations of "Challenges in the Care of Transgender and Gender-Diverse Youth: An Endocrinologist’s View", Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, DOI: 10.1080/0092623X.2022.2160396]
Also not on a "sex spectrum": Among an ethnic group in the Dominican Republic, also found in Papua New Guinea, Turkey and Egypt, are XY individuals with a "5-alpha reductase deficiency", a hormone deficiency that impedes the fetal conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), thus impairing the development of male sex organs. When born, they may look female. This is in some ways similar to individuals with complete "androgen insensitivity syndrome" (AIS). However, unlike individuals with complete or severe partial AIS, when these 5-alpha reductase-deficient individuals reach puberty, the testosterone in their bodies does facilitate the development of male secondary sex characteristics. It is popular to claim that these people are "girls who turn into men", or people of some other sex. They are not. They are (usually infertile) males with a genetic defect. Some decide in adulthood to continue to present themselves as "female", others accept the reality that they are men.
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On the parenting issue, the progressive psychs and social engineers are "arguing with science", in this case evolution. It's idiotically inconsistent to claim that parental sex doesn't matter because parents don't "parent" differently but that children also need "fathers" because fathers "parent" differently, but -- oops -- two-parent "same-sex" families are just as good as heterosexual biological two-parent households because -- rationalizing and straining here -- it's about additional parenting resources... or something... that apparently doesn't apply when the second adult head of household is not a sexual partner of the other but, say, a grandparent.
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Added note on the definition of "transvestite". A "transvestite" is a person of the male sex who knows that he is male, and who dresses up in the artificial accoutrements of "femininity" in order to pretend that he is female. An "extreme transvestite" is a person of the male sex who knows that he is male, and who dresses up (even to the point of mutilating his body) in the artificial accoutrements of "femininity" in order to pretend that by doing so he actually has become female. Because people can be fooled. Which brings me to...
The bathroom issue: If you're male but you truly appear in all ways to be female, no one is going to notice or care if you use the women's restroom or changing room. So this is a fake concern. Otherwise...
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