What I’ve seen of the public debate over transgender issues, one side is talking about sex while the other is talking about gender identity.
You made a remark about the difference between gender identity and gender expression and I think that goes to the point that we’re not just talking gender as that term has been generally used, but rather this compound term gender identity.
Do you agree? Do you think there’s a way to bridge the gap so people are not talking past each other?
You’re not entirely wrong about there being conflation between physical sex and gender identity; however, I feel like I’m missing something in this statement. Like, I think I get what your saying, but I can’t quite grasp it as firmly as I’d like to. Maybe some examples of what you mean might help.
As far as trying to bridge the gap so that people aren’t talking past one another, the important thing is to listen. Listen to those affected, listen to the concerns of others so that they may be properly addressed…
I hope to better grasp it myself. It seems to me that there is physical sex, there is gender, and there is gender identity. As I understand it, gender identity can manifest in any number of ways and does not depend on making physical changes nor adopting any particular gender traits. But for all of these separate concepts, we use similar or the same terminology.
As an example of what I’m getting at, today in the news is the transgender cyclist’s win. And there are many comments that the win is unfair, that males are naturally stronger, etc. On its face this denies the gender identity of an athlete. But the objectors are speaking in terms of physical sex while the cyclist and allies are speaking in terms of gender identity. Neither side wants to recognize what they other is saying, it seems to me.
First, I wouldn’t consider gender identity and gender different things, as the difference between gender and sex is that the former is about how one identifies. Rather, it would be sex, gender, and gender expression.
With that out of the way, let’s dissect the example. While I don’t know the specifics of this case, I can say this: If she’s been on hormone therapy for a significant period of time, the advantage from testosterone is more or less nuked. In fact, it’s often possible for cis women competitors to have a higher testosterone than what medical professionals lowers a trans woman’s testosterone to. This has significant effects regarding muscle to fat ratios, as well as fat distribution.
Now, it doesn’t necessarily account for bone structure that she may have been born with. It’s possible that can also provide an advantage, but to my knowledge that has more to do with weightlifting and competitions of strength, rather than cycling.
The example to me seems to be more a case of talking past each other due to one side not being properly informed of the effects of HRT, and the other side refusing to educate.