The charge that sex designations on a birth certificate is medically ill-advised stands contrary to even the most basic understanding of science.
By Glenn T. Stanton, The Federalist, January 5, 2021
Many folks these days treat science not as a method for discovering truth, but as an undeniable, transcendent truth in and of itself. Yet these same folks fail to appreciate that some of the most dramatic and passionate attacks on science come from their compadres on the far left: gender theorists.
A vivid demonstration of this fact has just been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, formerly one of the world’s most prestigious medical journals. In their December 2020 edition, the journal published an article that audaciously claims “Sex designations on birth certificates offer no clinical utility, and they can be harmful” to patients. Thus, “given the particularly harmful effects of such designations,” the authors argue, the practice should be changed.
To assume such a call was motivated by some new scientific, medical discovery would give the doctors who penned the article and the editors who published it far too much credit. Indeed, their interest is not medical in the least, but purely emotional, political, and ideological — something they make clear in their article.
The publication doesn’t list any specific clinical harms or offer any medical documentation for their claim. Instead, they only contend the practice should be changed “given the particularly harmful effects of such designations on intersex or transgender people.”
To back up this assertion, they cite a single law journal article. This is because, of course, there are no medical or clinical harms from the culturally universal practice of designating sex on birth certificates. The authors and editors at the New England Journal of Medicine must know this — it’s surely why they didn’t list any.
Gender Identity Is Not a Medical Issue At All
Disappointment that your objectively documented birth certificate is contrary to your newly realized gender identity is not a medical issue. It is a psychological and emotional issue, and a problem that can’t be blamed on either the official documentation or the medical professionals who “assigned” your sex at birth.
The article’s flight from science and reason doesn’t stop there, however. The authors contend, astonishingly, that “Designating sex as male or female on birth certificates suggests that sex is simple and binary, when, biologically, it is not.” They then proceed to state, incorrectly, “Sex is a function of multiple biologic processes with many resultant combinations.”
Of course, it is that simple. No one in the long, marvelous history of humanity has ever delivered a baby that was a third, fourth, or seventh sex. Indeed, the article fails to mention even one of the extra-binary sexes it hints at.
Of course, male and female are the only two biological games in town for humanity and nearly every life form. To claim differently is merely wish fulfillment.
Science and reality only know the binary. This is obvious, even to leftist French, feminist philosophers like Sylviane Agacinski, who notes in her gender treatise “Parity of the Sexes:
One is born a girl or boy, one becomes woman or man. The human species is divided in two, and, like most other species, in two only. This division, which includes all human beings without exception, is thus a dichotomy. In other words, every individual who is not man is woman. There is no third possibility.
Agacinski speaks truthfully of biology, of what it means to be human.
What Medicine Has to Say
Medicine is the objective study of and care for the body, and there are only two forms of the human body. Swiss and French scientists writing in the journal Nature last year explained, “When properly documented and studied, sex and gender differences are the gateway to precision medicine.”
A major medical literature review published in September’s Lancet carefully documents just how true this is. Entitled, “Sex and Gender: Modifiers of Health, Disease, and Medicine,” a team of 18 internationally representative medical professors explains their exhaustive work aims “to guide clinicians and researchers to better understand and harness the importance of sex and gender as genetic, biological, and environmental modifiers of chronic disease.”
They add this “is a necessary and fundamental step towards precision medicine that will benefit women and men.” They unapologetically remind their readers of the undeniable biological fundamentals:
Sex differences in disease prevalence, manifestation, and response to treatment are rooted in the genetic differences between men and women. Genetic sex differences start at conception when the ovum fuses with a sperm cell carrying an X or a Y chromosome, resulting in an embryo carrying either XX or XY chromosomes. This fundamental difference in chromosome complement generates ubiquitous sex differences in the molecular makeup of all male and female cells.
This is why they plainly state, in dramatic contrast to the New England Journal of Medicine, “efforts to bring sex and gender into the mainstream of modern medical research, practice, and education are urgently needed, as the lack of appreciation for sex and gender differences harms both women and men.” Furthermore, unlike the New England Journal of Medicine, these authors provide more than 200 citations from peer-reviewed medical journals to support their claims.
But Aren’t Some People Intersex?
The existence of intersex people certainly does not mean that sex is not binary. The Intersex Society of North America is very clear that being intersex is certainly not a “non” or “third” gender. Intersex status is merely a congenital anatomical, gonadal or chromosomal maladaptation of a male or female body.
In the final analysis, the charge that sex designations on a birth certificate is medically ill-advised is not just flawed because it isn’t rooted in any science, but is precisely contrary to even the most basic understanding of science. And it’s something no American should fall for just because the New England Journal of Medicine attached their shiny seal of approval to it.
Glenn T. Stanton is a Federalist senior contributor who writes and speaks about family, gender, and art, is the director of family formation studies at Focus on the Family, and is the author of the brand new “The Myth of the Dying Church” (Worthy, 2019). He blogs at glenntstanton.com
This article first appeared HERE.