A short history of sex and gender

From the American College of Pediatrics. The full article can be seen here.

“Professor of social work, Dr. William Brennan, has written that “[t]he power of language to color one’s view of reality is profound.”8 It is for this reason that linguistic engineering always precedes social engineering — even in medicine. Many hold the mistaken belief that gender once meant biological sex. Though the terms are often used interchangeably they were never truly synonymous.9,10 Feminists of the late 1960’s and 1970’s used gender to refer to a “social sex” that could differ from one’s “biological sex” in order to overcome unjust discrimination against women rooted in sex stereotypes. These feminists are largely responsible for mainstreaming the use of the word gender in place of sex. More recently, in an attempt to eliminate heteronormativity, queer theorists have expanded gender into an excess of 50 categories by merging the concept of a social sex with sexual attractions.9 However, neither usage reflects the original meaning of the term.

Prior to the 1950s, gender applied only to grammar not to persons.9,10 Latin based languages categorize nouns and their modifiers as masculine or feminine and for this reason are still referred to as having a gender. This changed during the 1950s and 1960s as sexologists realized that their sex reassignment agenda could not be sufficiently defended using the words sex and transsexual. From a purely scientific standpoint, human beings possess a biologically determined sex and innate sex differences. No sexologist could actually change a person’s genes through hormones and surgery. Sex change is objectively impossible. Their solution was to hijack the word gender and infuse it with a new meaning that applied to persons. John Money, PhD was among the most prominent of these sexologists who redefined gender to mean ‘the social performance indicative of an internal sexed identity.10 In essence, these sexologists invented the ideological foundation necessary to justify their treatment of transsexualism with sex reassignment surgery and called it gender. It is this man-made ideology of an ‘internal sexed identity’ that now dominates mainstream medicine, psychiatry and academia. This linguistic history makes it clear that gender is not and never has been a biological or scientific entity. Rather, gender is a socially and politically constructed concept.

In their “Overview of Gender Development and Gender Nonconformity in Children and Adolescents,” Forcier and Olson-Kennedy dismiss the binary model of human sexuality as “ideology” and present an “alternate perspective” of “innate gender identity” that presents along a “gender continuum.” They recommend that pediatricians tell parents that a child’s “real gender” is what he or she feels it to be because “a child’s brain and body may not be on the same page.”

A teleological binary view of human sexuality, in contrast, is compatible with biological reality. The norm for human design is to be conceived either male or female. Sex chromosome pairs “XY” and “XX” are genetic determinants of sex, male and female, respectively. They are not genetic markers of a disordered body or birth defect. Human sexuality is binary by design with the purpose being the reproduction of our species. This principle is self-evident. Barring one of the rare disorders of sex development (DSD), no infant is “assigned” a sex or a gender at birth; rather birth sex declares itself anatomically in utero and is clearly evident and acknowledged at birth.

The exceedingly rare DSDs, including but not limited to androgen insensitivity syndrome and congenital adrenal hyperplasia, are all medically identifiable deviations from the human binary sexual norm. Unlike individuals with a normal genotype and hormonal axis who identify as “transgender,” those with DSD have an innate biological condition. Sex assignment in individuals with DSDs is complex and dependent on a variety of genetic, hormonal, and physical factors. Nevertheless, the 2006 consensus statement of the Intersex Society of North America did not endorse DSD as a third sex.”

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