The Trump administration is set to scrap "gender identity" in federal law and return to the previous legal definition of sex as synonymous with biological sex.
Such was the definition until the past few years.
The Health and Human Services Department will return to the long-held legal definition of sex as referring to biological sex for the purposes of the Title IX ban on sex discrimination, according to The New York Times, which obtained an official memo with the intended plans, reported Sunday.
HHS contended in the document that key government agencies must adopt a clear definition of sex "on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable."
The issue came to a head in early 2016 when the Obama Justice Department issued a Dear Colleague letter threatening to withhold federal dollars from schools and other government-funded institutions unless they opened up their restrooms, changing facilities, and locker rooms on the basis of gender identity instead of sex.
Prior to that controversial move, as National Review's David French noted Monday, in April 2014, the Obama administration "quietly expanded the definition — without an act of Congress or even a regulatory rulemaking process. In a document called 'Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence' it stated that 'Title IX's sex discrimination prohibition extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity.'"
"Transgender people did not flash into existence on April 29, 2014, when the Obama administration altered its interpretation of Title IX. They will not flash out of existence if the Trump administration returns to traditional and intended statutory definitions," he reiterated.
Yet transactivists and their allies were furious at the news of the proposed return to a biological sex-based definition. Protesters gathered outside the White House Monday saying that they "won't be erased" with the return to the previous legal definition.
"This is horrifying," tweeted Planned Parenthood Action along with the NYT article.
"These inhumane, cruel, and discriminatory policies are dangerous and do not represent the needs of our diverse communities."
Denny Burk, theology professor at Boyce College replied: "Actually, this is simply returning things to where they were before President Obama unilaterally changed the meaning of the word 'sex' in federal statutes like Title IX. He never should have done that and had no right to do that."
"It's not inhumane or discriminatory to recognize the biological difference between male and female, which is what 'sex' refers to in those statutes. This is not radical. What President Obama did was radical and wrong."
He added that The New York Times piece did not even seem to understand the difference between the terms "sex" and "gender," where sex refers to biological sex and gender refers to gender identity. The report is thus "a muddle of misinformation," he said.
"Transgenderism is not a body-affirming ideology. On the contrary, it's a body-denying ideology. It says that there is something wrong with the body & that the body needs to be reshaped through destructive surgeries and hormone 'therapies.' It harms bodies."
Natasha Chart, board chair of Women's Liberation Front and member of the Hands Across the Aisle Coalition pointed out in comments emailed to The Christian Post Monday that "gender" is actually the root of the problem.
"Feelings, of any kind, aren't a sex. Unhappiness isn't a sex. Liking to dress a certain way isn't a sex. Gender is what's trying to be a new definition of sex, and it's a bad definition, because it has no criteria besides sexist stereotypes that are always able to be disproved by something," Chart said.
"We don't live in a world where there are sexed personalities in sexless bodies, but one where minds with any type of personality can be in a body of either sex. If your personality is in a female body, it is a female personality, and the same with a male body. Men and women, girls and boys, can have any type of personality or interest."
She added: "Gender pathologizes normal personality variations, by presenting them as being a case of being 'in the wrong body.' A body can't be wrong, as many people have said. We are only alive through our bodies, they cannot be in error without saying that our actual lives are in error. What hatred any of us have for our own bodies, or what harm we do to them, we direct always towards ourselves, the only person who will experience that hatred and harm."
Women's Liberation Front filed a federal lawsuit in 2016 suing the government over the redefinition of "sex" to include "gender identity" in federal civil rights law. WoLF abandoned the lawsuit after the Trump administration indicated it would not operate with the Obama-issued guidelines.
Chart rejects the notion that trans-identified people are being "erased" as they are claiming. By contrast, women and girls are actually facing legal and cultural erasure.
"Our name as a class of persons is becoming unspeakable, a curse word that has to be bowdlerized or qualified somehow. Some in the UK now use 'womxn,' which is unpronounceable. As if women and girls, human females, are an eldritch horror that can't even be mentioned. The only people who get to say without qualification that they 'are women' are 'trans women,' who are all, only and ever male," she told CP.
While trans-identified persons should be as free to live their lives without fear of bullying and harassment, that is not the issue, she maintains.
"Sex is a material reality that has meaning to our lives and society, even if these facts are open to interpretation of meaning, or if that makes some people unhappy. The facts of such things are unresponsive to our feelings about them."