I recently spent an afternoon watching TeenNick with some kids. Between episodes of iCarly and some cartoons where all the characters farted in unison to create some kind of superhero force field, I experienced a sociological epiphany. There were commercials geared toward girls alone, and commercials geared toward boys alone, and the advertisers weren’t buying into the “alternative genders” zeitgeist pushed by adults. This was an entirely binary world.
It was incredibly refreshing, given the grown-up world’s growing preoccupation with “gender fluidity.” We’ve somehow been forced to accept the idea that biology isn’t destiny, and that we can ignore science in our attempt to reach that personal comfort zone where “identity” matches our heart’s desire.
I wonder if some people in the Trump administration have been watching TeenNick, too.
This week, a leaked memo from the Department of Health and Human Services revealed proposed plans to roll back the expansive rules that threw science out the window and turned gender into a game of improvisation. The new rules — which are actually the pre-Obama old rules and served us well for decades — provide that gender will again be determined by a person’s biological sex at birth. Unless there is some strong evidence to the contrary, such as DNA proving that your bouncing baby boy is actually your bouncing baby girl, this scientific standard will be the one used to determine rights, benefits, and identity.
It seems pretty commonsense to me.
But you’d never know that based on the reaction from the LGBTQ community and its allies. They’d have you believe that Trump ordered something akin to Biblical annihilation. The headline in the New York Times salaciously read, “Transgender Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under the Trump Administration.”
According to the memos, officials argue the federal government should adopt a definition of sex and gender “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.”
Here we have an administration not known for its adherence to science actually adhering to science.
Personally, I’m happy to defer to biology when it comes to classifying a fetus as human. I also believe in the science of climate change, and hope my conservative colleagues consider the very real prospect of Alaska melting into Canada and bringing us back to 49 states (unless Hawaii is swallowed by a tsunami).
My dedication to science is usually shared by progressives, but not, it seems, when gender is involved.
In that case, despite the fact that it’s pretty easy to determine that if a person has a penis, that person has a much better chance at being a daddy and not a mommy, many of those who push for gender fluidity say that biology is not definitive. There’s an evolving school of thought that maintains that “gender” and “sex” are different things. In other words, gender is in the mind, while sex is, um, further south.
But here’s the problem. My alma mater, Bryn Mawr, issued a booklet a while ago listing all of the possible pronouns you could use if you weren’t sure about a person’s gender. Some of them included “Vie,” “Nie,” “Zie” and “Zir.” Bryn Mawr did this because they didn’t want to inadvertently offend someone who identified as something other than male or female.
Some might think that’s incredibly civilized, but I consider it madness.
People can be whatever they want to be in their private lives, but the government has a right to want scientific standards when determining Title IX and gender discrimination issues.
That’s just common sense.
Christine M. Flowers is a lawyer and columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. Readers may send her email at email@example.com.