GENDER ISSUES

The term “gender” has evolved from originally meaning the biological sex of an individual to meaning something about the social or cultural identity of the individual.  This is logically problematic.  A male gender identity is said to derive from engaging in behaviors that are generally classified as “male,” and similarly for a female gender identity.  The fundamental logical problem with this is that the classification of any behavior as “male” is subjective and imprecise and is a gross generalization that is only used for simplicity and convenience.  Engaging in any one behavior or even any set of behaviors does not make one male, as clearly females can engage in virtually any male behavior and vice versa.  A much more scientific, precise, and objective determination of whether one is male is based on the presence of the XY chromosome, while a determination of whether one is female is based on the presence of the XX chromosome.  To use a particular behavior or set of behaviors as an indicator of an individual’s sex when there is much more powerful evidence such as the individual’s chromosomes is not logical or reasonable.  One does not judge an individual’s age based on their behavior, even though many behaviors are correlated with age just as many behaviors are correlated with sex.  If one has evidence of an individual’s birthdate, that outweighs any evidence of age-related behavior.  The same should be true for sex or gender.

One particularly troubling result of this gender confusion is that some believe that changing from one sex to the other, i.e., undergoing a transgender procedure, is a healthy and reasonable choice to make. First off, maybe medical advances will change this in the future, but as of now even with surgery and hormone therapy one can only resemble the other sex in a superficial manner. The years of brain and body development as the other sex can not be completely, or even mostly, erased. Also, much of the knowledge of how to survive as a member of one’s birth sex will lose its value, and one will have missed out on gaining the corresponding knowledge that members of the other sex developed during youth.

Since one’s physical sexual characteristics at birth are objective and anything but arbitrary, while a culture’s association between an individual’s sex and gender identity may be somewhat subjective and arbitrary, rather than changing the non-arbitrary body to fit with arbitrary and subjective notions about gender identity, it would make far more sense to change the arbitrary and subjective notions about gender identity to fit with the objective characteristics of the body.

But maybe the most compelling reason to condemn this idea is that it distracts and confuses troubled and unhappy individuals and prevents them from focusing on more reasonable means to improve their lives. A further problem is that as the idea gains momentum, it offers another opportunity for individuals to knowingly make behavioral choices that are disfavored by the general society, and then, after claims of discrimination, expect the society to make accommodations for that choice. This is problematic for behavioral choices because humans are quite flexible and adaptable animals, and there are innumerable possible behavioral choices they can make, and social chaos is only prevented, and some degree of social harmony achieved, by limiting that number through societal pressure to restrict apparently unhealthy or arbitrary behavior.

 

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