Four major medical organizations representing more than 30,000 health professionals sent a letter to the Trump administration last week urging it to continue to uphold the scientific definition of sex in federal law and policy—a definition that aligns with God’s design as expressed in the Bible of two distinct and complementary sexes.
The letter, sent from the American College of Pediatricians, the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, and the Catholic Medical Association, follows a Trump administration memo leaked by The New York Times in October. The memo urged key government agencies to adopt a uniform legal definition of sex “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.”
Activists pushing the transgender agenda immediately decried the memo, protesting in front of the White House and holding a news conference the day after the leak. Diana Flynn of the LGBT activist group Lambda Legal called the proposal “another ideologically driven attempt by the Trump administration to marginalize people and force them into the shadows.”
But the letter’s authors argue transgender protections are themselves ideologically driven. The medical groups applauded the memo, as well as two other efforts by the Trump administration to roll back Obama-era policies that sought to include subjective gender identity in regulations banning sex discrimination. On Feb. 22, 2017, the departments of Justice and Education sent a “Dear Colleague” letter rescinding guidance that educational institutions receiving federal funding conflate gender identity and sex in Title IX protections. And on Oct. 4, 2017, the Department of Justice issued a memo clarifying that gender identity is not legally included in the definition of sex in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The nine-point letter from the medical groups, endorsed by 32 other legal organizations, policy groups, and individuals, is a declaration against transgender ideology. The letter declares sex to be “a binary, biologically determined, and immutable trait from conception forward.” The writers defend the importance of sex differences in health and medical care, noting that more than 6,500 shared genes are expressed differently in human males and females. They dispute the notion that sex is a spectrum, arguing that congenital sex development disorders (often called intersex disorders) are not additional sexes and that humans are unambiguously male or female more than 99.98 percent of the time: “The use of congenital disorders to advance the myth that there are a multitude of human sexes which exist on a spectrum is ideological and political activism, not science.”
The letter also pushes back on the claim that upholding the scientific definition of sex will increase suicide among transgender people, instead arguing that studies show affirming gender identity does not reduce suicide in the long term. And finally, it defends sex-based legal protections, arguing women and girls bear the brunt of privacy invasion when we say sex is nothing more than gender identity.
“For all of these reasons, it is with unwavering conviction that we urge the Trump administration to uphold the original scientific meaning and legal intent of the term ‘sex’ in federal law and policy,” the letter concluded. About 23,000 people had signed an online petition based on the letter by midday Friday.
But the White House is facing an uphill battle against increasing legal support for gender identity protections. One pending case could be an important litmus test: Late last month, the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to issue a ruling on a proposed Pentagon policy restricting military service by some transgender individuals. Legal battles in lower courts have delayed the policy, and the White House has argued the Obama administration’s rule of allowing all transgender individuals to serve poses too great a risk to military effectiveness and lethality. The high court has not said whether it will take up the case.