Hmm, no, I don’t believe I use sex and gender interchangeably. Let’s taboo those two terms.
I think that most people don’t care about a person’s chromosomes. When I inspect the way I use the words “sex” and “gender”, I don’t feel like either of them is a disguised query for that person’s chromosomes.
I think that many people care about hormone balances. Testosterone and Estrogen change the way your body behaves, and the type of hormone a person’s body naturally produces and whether they’re suppressing that and/or augmenting with a different hormone is definitely relevant for sports and medicine.
I think that many people care about appearance. Most people’s sexual attraction is keyed to whether a person looks a certain way. Examples include: Straight men being attracted to gay men in feminine clothing, masc lesbians and gay twinks accidentally hitting on each other or even making out without realizing they’re not “technically” attracted to their gender, straight women being attracted to butch lesbians.
I think that many people care about “intent-to-fit-into-and-interact-with-the-world-as-a-specific-social-role”, which is pretty hard for me to point at without the word gender. But our society does have two primary social roles, and committing to living in one social role is important to people. I think lots of people track who is in which social role and interact with those people in different ways.
It sounds like our disagreement is that you doubt that anyone cares about the “intent to fit into and interact with the world as a specific role”, whereas in my experience lots of people care a lot about this.
I’m not really sure the Harvard thing is a good analogy? Consider the following phrases:
I identify as a woman
I identify as a person with XX chromosomes
I identify as a Harvard Graduate
I identify as a Bostonian
I identify as an academic
I identify as a Christian
I identify as a lesbian Which of those identify phrases mean things? It’s the ones which are about primarily social roles and not about physical fact. I think all of these are meaningful except the second and third.
Now, some of these could be lies, (I could say I’m an academic but not actually care about academics!) but they’re not nonsensical.
Now, obviously, you’ll tell me that the social role is the good-enough sorting mechanism and so we should discard it for better sorting mechanisms involving physical characteristics. That’s pretty close to gender abolitionism, to be honest, and I don’t really understand where you get off the following train:
Let me analyze an example you gave while my terms are tabooed: changing rooms. Our goal is to “avoid the discomfort that might come with attracting sexualized attention from strangers”. Obviously, if we look at all four categories I proposed above, (XX/XY, testosterone/estrogen, masculine appearance/feminine appearance, male-social-role/female-social-role), all four of them have approximately the same distribution of attraction to the opposite category. However, only one of them is directly visible to strangers in the dressing room—masculine appearance/feminine appearance. (We could introduce a new category, penis vs. vagina, but then you’ll have very masculine vagina havers in the vagina room and very feminine penis havers in the penis room.)
I would guess that you don’t agree that segregating changing rooms by masculine appearance/feminine appearance is correct? If I’m right about that, what part of the above analysis do you object to?
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