Gossip With Dr. Miller Archived Articles and Column Responses
Does Gender Matter
I will begin this article by first saying I am not against anyone in the LGBTQ movement. For some, this is a sexual preference and identity. My friends and family are in my life because I love them, not because of their personal preferences. On that note, biologically, there are two genders, male (XY) and female (XX). I am not including hermaphrodite since this population has female and male genitalia but still carries female or male chromosomes.
The reason I state the obvious is because gender does play a key role in areas that reflect one’s development, the ratio of hormones (Fertility/Estrogen Spermatogenesis/Testosterone), physiological activities, muscle mass, bone mass, body fat, metabolism, organ size, and brain function, all which are different in females and males.
So, why is this important, and does gender matter? And the answer is yes. Here’s why. Read more
Viewer Alex responds to Dr. Miller’s article “Does Gender Matter”
Hey doctor, what do you suggest children and adults should do if they want to compete in a sport for school or college or even the Olympics if they claim they are transgender, or labeled the wrong gender due to genital parts only but mentally identify opposite of the gender assigned at birth? There are trans people that are unrecognizable that they are trans unless they disclose that information, unlike the 6ft tall swimmer in the latest headlines. Short of a blood test people would not know the difference~ Alex
This is a touchy topic, but I will be candid.
Let’s start with the facts.
Early Childhood Level
Based on a doctor’s observation of a child’s external sex organs, the birth certificate will state your child’s biological gender. Children are not born with an innate understanding of “boy” or “girl”. Gender identity is learned from parents, older children, or educators through social expectations of masculine and feminine expression; boys wear blue, girls wear pink, boys play with trucks, girls play with dolls, boys have penises, girls have vaginas, etc., which continues into puberty and adulthood. A majority of young children will explore their gender identity naturally. For example, a young boy may put on his mother’s heels and say, look, I’m a girl.” This does not mean the child is transgender. That labeling stems from those raising the child at this early stage. Keep in mind that an individual’s physical and emotional attraction to a member of the same or the opposite sex is very difficult to predict prior to puberty. So, to answer the question regarding children and sports, it should depend on the child’s biological sex, which a birth certificate can simply determine. As a matter of fact, this is the same answer for the second half of your question.
Middle and High School Level
The number of those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender, has doubled from roughly a decade ago, most likely due to social acceptance and peer pressure. Grasping an understanding of gender identity at this age is typically correlated with depression, anxiety, victims of sexual violence, or school bullying, leading to higher rates of gender identity dysphoria; hence why GID has been deemed a mental illness on the DSMIV.
Regardless, it does not deter the fact that men and women are biologically, mentally, and physically different. We cannot deflect from the obvious; boys have an inherent advantage over girls in school sports. If not true, we wouldn’t have boy and girl sports; everyone would just compete against one another. Let me also point out that a majority of parents do not want a young adult male, who identifies as a female, to be in their daughter’s locker room. At this stage in a young man’s life, surgery is not optional, and it is not okay for young women to see a young man’s genitals. Period.
Let’s continue with school sports.
For some, at the high school level, sports dictate a future career. Scouts come to see what students they want for their college leagues. Having boys on girls’ teams can hinder these young women from gaining access to the colleges of their choice. Is this our future? No longer having female sports played by females? This is why sex categories in sports exist.
College and Olympic Level
To answer your question about trans-athletes that could be confused as the biological gender they identify with is where biology comes into play. Whether pro-athletes are given a blood test or have to provide a birth certificate, there are methods to extracting one’s biological sex. The reason? Well, there is currently a general lack of understanding regarding the potential consequences of trans-athletes in elite sports. Sport is a multi-billion-dollar industry with intense competition.
Therefore, the sports owners, coaches, and athletes will do anything to gain an advantage. Not saying that this is the intent with trans-athletes or even gender identity in general, but it is biological and physiological differences that can impede opportunities from one industry over another; skeletal muscle constitutes about 42% of a man’s body mass, but only 36% of a woman’s body mass (Berezow, 2018). Therefore, it is up to the pro-sports programs to ensure biological identity is determined at this level of sports, safeguarding the fairness of each industry. This is not a moral argument or an attempt to justify any one individual being treated differently from another; it is simply a review of the empirical evidence and a rationale for why the different categories exist.
Thank you for your great question, Alex.
Until Next Week,
Dr. Amy Miller
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