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Why is gender, in particular, such an important part of identity to recognise?

What is the significance of tracking such information? What should be open/restricted for people who identify as female vs. identifying as male? Supposing that, as some TRAs seem to do, gender is something innate akin to a group of personality traits and skills, why do we need to officially recognise it? Why gender, and not astrological sign, or Myers-Briggs personality type, or whatever other nonscientific notion that some people nevertheless feel is an important part of their personal identity?

Gender doesn't have a rigorous definition, and it seems like two people can have the exact same characteristics except that one feels that they are the other gender, and the other does not, or rejects the idea of transition - and somehow that makes all the difference. I've also seen TRAs claim that you can't tell somebody else what their gender is - it has to be up to them to determine. So it seems like... gender doesn't mark out any sort of distinct category? In which case, why do people seem so desperate to preserve it as something that must be recognised?

I miss when I was first introduced to being trans on Tumblr years ago but the rhetoric was still 'sex is biological, gender is psychological', now it seems like TRAs are making the exact mistake of 'gender is the same as sex and needs to be treated the same way'...

Why is gender, in particular, such an important part of identity to recognise? What is the significance of tracking such information? What should be open/restricted for people who identify as female vs. identifying as male? Supposing that, as some TRAs seem to do, gender is something innate akin to a group of personality traits and skills, why do we need to officially recognise it? Why gender, and not astrological sign, or Myers-Briggs personality type, or whatever other nonscientific notion that some people nevertheless feel is an important part of their personal identity? Gender doesn't have a rigorous definition, and it seems like two people can have the exact same characteristics except that one feels that they are the other gender, and the other does not, or rejects the idea of transition - and somehow that makes all the difference. I've also seen TRAs claim that you can't tell somebody else what their gender is - it has to be up to them to determine. So it seems like... gender doesn't mark out any sort of distinct category? In which case, why do people seem so desperate to preserve it as something that must be recognised? I miss when I was first introduced to being trans on Tumblr years ago but the rhetoric was still 'sex is biological, gender is psychological', now it seems like TRAs are making the exact mistake of 'gender is the same as sex and needs to be treated the same way'...

23 comments

[–] LilianH 29 points (+29|-0)

They were tracking sex, somewhere along the line it got changed to gender and then the gender cult came along and muddied the waters so much nothing means anything any more.

[–] Yemaya 18 points (+18|-0)

When my mom was growing up only “sex” was used. Then John Money came up with gender. I’m at the point where I don’t even want to use the word gender anymore. Only sex. I.e sex roles instead of gender roles.

[–] Laurel 21 points (+21|-0)

I don't use it unless I'm talking about foreign languages. I've become that old bag who yells "SEX!" at her TV every time a news story mentions "gender" when "sex" is what they mean.

Yes, I have excised the term from all my research and write-ups. It's sex all the way now.

[–] bluestocking 3 points (+3|-0)

Calling them sex roles implies they are innate or natural. It's good to have some distinctions. .

[–] Yemaya 5 points (+5|-0)

Well the full term used to be called “sex role stereotypes”

[–] Aeschleah 13 points (+13|-0)

Yeah, I always assumed the word ‘gender’ replaced sex, because of the connotations the former had to people.

Clearly officials were sick of getting ‘yes please’ as an answer to ‘sex?’

[–] kalina 23 points (+23|-0)

They conflate sex and gender all the time. If it's all about gender, and gender is in fact just how you express yourself and what you wear, then it makes no sense why toilets should be separated by gender.

[–] estina 4 points (+4|-0)

Or why we’d be castrating healthy children over it…

[–] ActualWendy 21 points (+21|-0)

Astrology is a more rigorous ideology, and more democratic as the 12-part equality is baked in.

Gender is just about a pointless marker to note now. If anyone can be of any gender and even define a new one to describe themself, why do we need information on that? If you can't tell someone's gender by looking at them or observing something, why does it matter? If gender is such an internal, innate, intrinsic, personal (and fluid?) feeling that trans people and allies claim to feel, why is it the government's, statistic's, or anyone else's business to know what that is? It seems that gender has no purpose in terms of being a legal marker. Plenty of trans people are assumed to be either their birth sex rather than their selected gender at places like the airport with TSA and are treated as their "assigned sex at birth". If a youth in need of a foster home is a female, that is important to know when finding them a foster home, much more important than being a "demigirl" or any identity like that. Sex and how you actually move through society seems much more important than what someone feels on the inside or words that won't hurt their feelings.

[–] banjo 4 points (+4|-0)

Some TRAs agree and say that it would be better for their agenda if we didn't keep track of "gender" (sex) at all

[–] OneStarWolf 4 points (+4|-0)

Honestly, it should be about as relevant a legal marker as putting someone’s religion or cult down on paperwork. So hardly useful at all.

Exactly! While I've been asked for my religion on a census/survey, I've never had to register it or change my birth certificate to 'atheist' after I was 'assigned Christian at birth' by my parents...

[–] Freshxx 3 points (+3|-0)

Noting an individual's sex is extremely important in a healthcare setting...gender I'm still scratching my head on that one.

[–] FeminineMistake 1 points (+1|-0)

I think they know deep down that when people say transwomen are women, everyone knows damn well that they’re not female. So now they are trying to say that they are, in fact, female. What are science and reality compared to the fragility of entitled male feelings and boners?

[–] Threnody 0 points (+0|-0)

Yes. English ID doesn't state "gender" it is sex. You can see that everyone is confused because they used to be the same thing. TRAs benefit from this confusion which is why I don't think we should let them have this. Genders are just the "polite" terms we use for the sexes.