Defining Sex Precisely: Return To Normal

I just read an excellent article by Jay Richards: Why States Must Define Sex Precisely.

He argues for a return to the biological understanding of sex, rejecting the subjective notions of gender ideology. Also, he calls for precise legal definitions of sex that are rooted in biology and that can withstand the ideological pressures of the current age.

The once uncontested definitions of “male” and “female” are now under siege due to the growing influence of gender ideology. This ideology seeks to redefine sex in federal laws and regulations to include “gender identity,” a move that threatens to undermine all preexisting legal references to sex.

Among other things, this blog has pointed out that Title IX advancements in the area of Women’s Sport has been negatively impacted by this move.

Legal Matters

Richards criticizes the vague and general definitions of sex proposed by some state legislators, arguing that they fail to provide a clear distinction between males and females.

Vague legal definitions create openings for gender ideology to gain a toehold.

He highlights the need for precise definitions of sex in state law, citing the ongoing debate in Montana as an example.

As I have done on this blog, Richards criticizes the misuse of disorders of sexual development, often mislabeled as “intersex” conditions, to argue for the existence of more than two sexes or fluidity of sexes. He points out that these disorders occur in a minuscule percentage of the population and do not justify the claims of gender ideology.

The main way gender ideologues have confused the public is by falsely claiming that disorders of sexual development, often mislabeled “intersex” conditions, prove that there are more than two sexes—or that the sexes are somehow fluid or mere endpoints on a spectrum.

Rather these conditions are disorders…

For instance, we know that humans are bipeds—that they naturally have two legs. But if a child is born without one or both legs, do we conclude that the newborn isn’t human, is a member of another species, or is “interspecies”? Of course not. We recognize that the child suffers from some sort of disorder—some disruption in development involving, say, chromosomes or an event in utero. Note that we’re engaged in counterfactual reasoning. We infer that the newborn would have had two legs except for some event or abnormality that prevented this from happening.

The article concludes by advocating for precise definitions of sex that capture the central concept of biological sex, account for normal development and disorders, and accommodate different stages of development. For example:

A human female is, minimally, a member of the human species who, under normal development, produces relatively large, relatively immobile gametes—ova—at some point in her life cycle, and has a reproductive and endocrine system oriented around the production of that gamete.

For the discussions ahead, legislative or otherwise, learn these arguments!

Companion Post


Sex Matters