After the New York Times reported that the Trump administration is working on a plan to legally define a person’s sex based on their genitalia at birth, experts claimed that trying to do so makes no scientific sense.
In an October 22, 2018 STAT article, scientists noted that some babies are born with atypical genitals and others have subtler forms of sex anatomy variations, some of which show up later in life. Hormones can also affect how people develop in terms of gender identity and gender expression. The bottom line, they said, is that people don’t always fall into neatly defined “male” or “female” categories.
Sari Reisner, assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told STAT that discounting a person’s gender identity or gender expression could worsen existing health disparities among transgender people and among those who are “non-binary”—considering themselves neither fully male nor fully female.
“By not accounting for someone’s gender, outside of biological binary, you’re missing a whole component of their health,” Reisner said. “If you just go by sex, you’re not going to accurately capture health disparities. That has implications for interventions and for health care delivery.”
Read the STAT article: Scientists see a problem with Trump plan on defining sex: biology