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“Gender ideology” or “gender identity ideology” — at the root of “gender affirming care” — is highly linguistic, relying on terms and concepts that are incoherent, confusing, inconsistent, and misleading. It’s necessary to understand (to the extent possible) the language of this movement to understand the implications of sex-trait modification and the social repercussions of promoting the ideology in our laws and policies.


Gender: The  meaning of the term “gender” changes depending on the context:

  • Mainstream and historical: synonymous with sex.

  • Cultural: expectations of feminine or masculine behavior based on the sex stereotypes of a particular culture.

  • Ideological: The belief that a person has an intangible "gendered self" that is separate from biological sex.


Gender Identity: Most commonly a person’s belief that he or she has a stereotypical feminine or masculine self that is unrelated to their sex. There is no scientific basis for this belief (e.g. no brain structures or processes that would indicate being born with, for example, a female brain and a male body).

There are also those who believe in novel genders (mostly popularized by adolescents online) that are unrelated to sex stereotypes.


Gender Ideology: A movement centered around the political and social and erasure of sex and sex-based rights, prioritizing self-identification over biology. 


Sex: Either of the two types of individuals that occur in all mammals (and most other species) and that are distinguished respectively as female (the body configuration that produces large gametes, aka ova) or male (the body configuration that produces small, mobile gametes, aka sperm). 


Transgender (aka trans): A person who believes that they have an innate “gender identity” in conflict with their sex. A trans person wishes  to be perceived as a member of the opposite sex and/or to have a body that resembles that of the opposite sex. Not all people who consider themselves “trans”  take hormones or undergo surgeries or attempt to appear as the opposite sex. 


Intersex: An outdated and misleading term used to refer to people born with Differences of Sexual Development (DSDs). Most people with DSDs (about 1.7% of the population) are unambiguously male or female. Approximately 0.02% percent of people have rare developmental conditions that result in ambiguous genitalia. DSDs are diagnosable physical conditions, not an identity. The addition of “intersex” to the LGBTQIA+ grouping is falsely used to imply that “trans” is a medical condition that requires medical “care” and that sex is a spectrum, intentionally sowing confusion about the sex binary.


Transman: A female who wishes to be perceived as, or believes she is, a male child or adult.


Transwoman: A male who wishes to be perceived as, or believes he is, a female child or adult.


Nonbinary: A person who wishes to be perceived as, or believes he or she is, neither male nor female, or some combination of the two.

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