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Over 1,600 scientists condemn Trump administration’s gender definition

Over 1,600 scientists condemn Trump administration’s gender definition

Protesters gather to support transgender rights

Over 1,600 members of the scientific community have signed a letter which condemns moves by the Trump administration to define gender as the one which is established at birth.

This comes after a private memo outlining US government’s proposal to limit the definition on gender was leaked to the New York Times last week.

Signators of the letter, which accuses the White House of indulging in ‘pseudoscience’, include 700 biologists, over 100 geneticists, and nine Nobel Prize winners, the BBC reports.

The letter says that the government’s proposal that ‘is in no way “grounded in science” as the administration claims’, and that ‘this proposal is fundamentally inconsistent not only with science, but also with ethical practices, human rights, and basic dignity.’

President Trump has not yet commented on the proposal.

Gender defined by a person’s genitalia

The draft memo, which was leaked by the Department of Health and Human Services, lays out plans to rescind policy created under the Obama administration which applies a broader definition to gender rather than just male or female.

The proposal by the current US government would suggest that gender should be defined on a person’s genitalia at birth.

Publication of the memo caused severe backlash from LGBTI rights activists, many of whom claim a move such as this would ‘erase’ the identities of transgender people living in America. There have been protests against the proposed moves outlined in the report.

‘Scientists just beginning to understand the biological basis of gender identity’

The letter by the members of the scientific community details the lack of scientific knowledge and research into fully understanding gender, which remains in a developmental stage.

‘The relationship between sex chromosomes, genitalia, and gender identity is complex, and not fully understood,’ the letter says, which links to numerous scientific studies.

‘Though scientists are just beginning to understand the biological basis of gender identity, it is clear that many factors, known and unknown, mediate the complex links between identity, genes, and anatomy.’

The letter goes on to say that there are currently no scientific tests which can ‘unambiguously determine gender or even sex,’ and that ‘even if such tests existed, it would be unconscionable to use the pretext of science to enact policies that overrule the lived experience of people’s own gender identities.’

The letter comes days after more than 50 of the biggest companies in the US, including Google, Apple, Nike, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft, released a joint statement blasting the Trump administration’s move to remove legal protections for transgender Americans.

In a joint statement, the companies said: ‘Transgender people are our beloved family members and friends, and our valued team members. What harms transgender people harms our companies.’

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