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Family Life | Understanding the controversies regarding the SOGIE Bill, Part 3

I have raised several issues regarding the SOGIE bill. The first is that of equality that the LGBTQ+ is pushing for but will instead discriminate those who do not hold the same views as them. The second is the bigger agendum of the militant LGBTQ+ to change the predominantly religious culture and liberalize it to accept their ideologies. The third is the redefinition of sex/gender to accomodate the LGBTQ ideologies and their lifestyle.

The introduction to the SOGIE Bill has the following definitions: “Sex refers to male, female, or intersex. Intersex refers to people born with the sex characteristics (including genitals, gonads, and chromosome patterns) that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies, all of which are natural bodily variations along a spectrum.” “Gender identity refers to the personal sense of identity as characterized, among others, by manner of clothing, inclinations, and behavior in relation to masculine or feminine conventions. A person may have a male or female identity with the physiological characteristics of the opposite sex, in which case this person is considered transgender.”

First, the idea of sex is a term rooted in biology, as the SOGIE bill admits – male, female – because of the genitals (penis, vagina), sex genes chromosome patterns (XX, XY), and reproductive organs (gonads – ovaries and testes). The redefinition is on the intersex. Intersex used to be a medical term for disorders on sex development (DSD) due to genetic abnormalities in which prenatal exposure to androgens result in atypical combinations (such as 45,X; 47XXY; 46XXDSD, 46XYDSD). It is important to distinguish those who are genuinely intersex medically. However, Van der Have, co-chair of Organisation Intersex International Europe, suggested a shift in the definition of the term intersex as “the lived experience of the socio-cultural conequences of being born with a body that does not fit with normative social constructions of male and female” (Van der Have 2016, 2017). This shifted “the focus from individual bodily differences, whether at the level of genes, chromosomes, gonads, or genitals, to the social context in which classifications are made…” (Griffiths 2018, 130-131).

Debra W. Soh, PhD in Sexual neuroscience research from York University, says that research has shown that as many as 1% of the population is intersex but statistically speaking, the rest is binary (Soh, realclearpolitics.com, 2018). According to her, “an extremely large and consistent body of scientific research has shown that gender is the result of prenatal hormone exposure, even in the case of intersex individuals, as opposed to adults and society imposing gendered norms on unsuspecting children from the moment they leave the womb.”

Second, the idea of gender, detached from biological sex, is again another socially constructed “role, behavior, activity or attribute” that started with the feminists (Oakley 1972; Kessler and McKenna 1978; Butler 2004) and have evolved into the present gender-fluid characteristics to be defined by the transgender. A research on disorders of sex development (DSD), congenital conditions in which development of chromosomal, gonadal, or anatomic sex is atypical (such as 45,X; 47XXY; 46XXDSD, 46XYDSD), shows that “in contrast to gender differences in activities and interests, associations between prenatal exposure to androgens and development of gender identity or sexual orientation are unlcear” (Arboleda, Sandberg, and Vilain 2014). Thus, apart from the medical condition of intersex due to genetic disorder, the current definition being promoted by the LGBTQ community brings a lot of confusion in the medical field.

Gender identity disorder (GID) was named in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental DIsorders (DSM-IV) to help practitoners in the medical field address medical interventions related to gender transitions. To remove stigmatizing those who cannot accept the sex they are born with, and to emphasize the distress they deal with because of it, GID was renamed Gender Dysphoria (GD) in DSM-V. This new term “is associated with clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning” (APA: DSM 5th ed. 2013, 452-3). The manual, however, puts a notice that “not all individuals will experience distress as a result of . . . incongruence” between their gender identities and bodies (p. 451). A critical systematic review of literature on GD research shows that “frequent changes of terminology, and crossover between medicalized and identity terms, appear to have contributed to conflation and consusion to the extent that GD is sometimes referred to as a specific diagnosis; sometimes as a phenomenological experience of distress; and sometimes as a personal characteristic within individuals” (Davy and Toze 2018, 168). The value of the DSD classification for medicine “derives from its being grounded in genetics, not in genitals and the assignment of gender as close to the moment of birth (Griffiths 2018, 128). [To be continued].

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