I also find it ironic that the LGBT community is opposed to Trump defining sex as biological, when that is EXACTLY how the community defines it.
This is a clear case of HOW DARE YOU AGREE WITH US!!
It’s not entirely clear that’s what the Trump administration is proposing. The New York Times article reporting on this proposed definitional change used the words “sex” and “gender” interchangeably, and it didn’t include the original leaked government document proposing the change, so we’re not sure what’s being proposed.
However, I believe we can theorize based on conservative’s arguments and the previous writings of those Trump has appointed to government agencies. That would mean Trump’s administration is proposing to define the word “gender” as immutable, innate, and grounded in biology. As I, and many, MANY others have written, that definition is not consistent with social or biological science understandings of this aspect of human experience.
But you don’t have to be a professor of Women and Gender Studies to know this is true. If gender was immutable, innate, and grounded in biology, there would be no differences in women’s or men’s social roles across time or geography. What it means to “be a man” would have never changed throughout history and women’s social roles would be identical across cultures.
And believing that requires a special kind of willful ignorance.
Michael J. Murphy, MA, PhD, is Associate Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Illinois. He is the author of many book chapters, and encyclopedia and journal articles. Most recently he edited Living Out Loud: An Introduction to LGBTQ History, Society, and Culture (Routledge, 2019). He lives in St. Louis with his husband.