American Sociological Association

Letter Regarding the Proposed Legal Definition of Sex

October 25, 2018

According to a memo obtained by The New York Times on October 21, the Department of Health and Human Services is seeking to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX based on “a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” The proposed definition would allow only a binary classification that is immutable and based on genitalia at birth. ASA sent a letter to the Secretary of DHHS expressing strong objection to this proposal which fails to reflect the findings from extensive sociological literature on this subject. Such a policy stands to have detrimental impacts on the physical and mental health of transgender and intersex individuals. Indeed, this definition is not grounded in science.

Read the full letter to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II.


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