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dorkseid
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27 Mar 2021, 6:57 pm

I would like to start by saying that my intention is not in any way to disrespect or deny anyone's proper gender identity. But I am asking this because I'm don't understand why specific language is used, and I hope that somebody could help me to understand it better.

Why do we say "sex assigned at birth" rather than "gender assigned at birth"?

My understanding is that there's a distinction between biological sex and gender identity.

Wouldn't that mean that a gender is what's assigned and not a sex? To the best of my knowledge, no person has developed their gender identity at birth. But a person's sex is a part of their biology that develops when they are still an embryo, and is not something assigned by society.

If there is something I'm not understanding accurately, I'd appreciate it if someone could clarify that for me.



Bradleigh
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27 Mar 2021, 7:21 pm

Well, sex is what is generally put on someone's birth certificate, and is generally assigned based on the doctor looking at their bits and deciding what sex they fit. These bits can be altered, whether an adult when one might take sex reassignment surgery, but you also have cases of intersex people. My understanding is that it is actual possible cases of intersex babies, that have had things like given some level of something like surgery to fit into one of the sexes to put onto a birth certificate. But also that cases of intersex people might even mean that assigning just on what the genitals look like might in general be accurate to having most of the sex characteristics, since they are not looking at chromosomes or something.

Just a way of saying a doctor looked at their genitals and assigned a sex. And true that gender, there would not necessarily be anything stopping adults from just saying that they were assigning a gender to a baby regardless of sex characteristics, pretty sure it has been done before, but usually does not go too well without someone actually being able to say something about their gender.


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kraftiekortie
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28 Mar 2021, 11:59 am

The sex is “assigned” by the sex chromosomes.

It would be nice if the zygote could pick its sex.



everybody_i5
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29 Mar 2021, 2:21 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
The sex is “assigned” by the sex chromosomes.

It would be nice if the zygote could pick its sex.


This is actually untrue. Sex is assigned by the doctors, based on their observations. People can be wrong about sex assignment.

As a society, we're very up each other's as*holes. I don't know what to say other than that.



magz
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29 Mar 2021, 3:10 am

It looks like the checkbox "sex" in one's birth certificate is assigned based on sex (natural reproductive potential) identified by a doctor at birth.
At least that's how I understand these terms.


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kraftiekortie
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29 Mar 2021, 6:32 am

It’s pretty obvious, over 99% of the time, the biological sex of the baby.

Nowadays, if it isn’t evident, they’ll put “intersex” as the “sex.”

Previously, indeed, it was an arbitrary decision by the doctor if the sex wasn’t evident.



kitesandtrainsandcats
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29 Mar 2021, 7:27 am

everybody_i5 wrote:
kraftiekortie wrote:
The sex is “assigned” by the sex chromosomes.

It would be nice if the zygote could pick its sex.


This is actually untrue. Sex is assigned by the doctors, based on their observations. People can be wrong about sex assignment.


Well, according to the person with a neuroscience degree who wrote the article,

Quote:
Historically, the terms “sex” and “gender” have been used interchangeably, but their uses are becoming increasingly distinct, and it is important to understand the differences between the two.

This article will look at the meaning of “sex” and the differences between the sexes. It will also look at the meaning of “gender,” and the concepts of gender roles, gender identity, and gender expression.

In general terms, “sex” refers to the biological differences between males and females, such as the genitalia and genetic differences.

“Gender” is more difficult to define, but it can refer to the role of a male or female in society, known as a gender role, or an individual’s concept of themselves, or gender identity.

...

Quote:
Genetic factors define the sex of an individual. Women have 46 chromosomes including two Xs and men have 46 including an X and a Y. The Y chromosome is dominant and carries the signal for the embryo to begin growing testes.


...

Quote:
Gender tends to denote the social and cultural role of each sex within a given society. Rather than being purely assigned by genetics, as sex differences generally are, people often develop their gender roles in response to their environment, including family interactions, the media, peers, and education.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines gender as:

“Gender refers to the socially constructed characteristics of women and men, such as norms, roles, and relationships of and between groups of women and men. It varies from society to society and can be changed.”


https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/232363


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kitesandtrainsandcats
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29 Mar 2021, 7:38 am

everybody_i5 wrote:
kraftiekortie wrote:
The sex is “assigned” by the sex chromosomes.

It would be nice if the zygote could pick its sex.


This is actually untrue. Sex is assigned by the doctors, based on their observations. People can be wrong about sex assignment.


Part 2, let's see what the scientists at a big university medical school in California say,
https://stanmed.stanford.edu/2017spring ... ealth.html

Quote:
Sex is a biological trait that is determined by the specific sex chromosomes inherited from one’s parents. In humans, male sex is determined (with a few exceptions) by the presence of the Y chromosome. A gene on the Y chromosome directs the differentiation of the fetal gonads into testes, resulting in the production of testosterone — which affects many of the body’s tissues — early in development. People with one X and one Y chromosome, or variants like XXY or XYY, are typically male, while those who have solely X chromosomes are usually female. People have a sex; animals have a sex; all tissues, including the fetal placenta, have a sex; even individual cells have a sex.

Gender, on the other hand, is socially, culturally and personally defined. It includes how individuals see themselves (gender identity), how others perceive them and expect them to behave (gender norms), and the interactions (gender relations) that they have with others. Often one’s gender aligns with one’s sex: Men tend to assume more masculine behaviors and traits, and to be seen as masculine by others around them, for example. But not always. Increasingly, researchers like Stefanick and Schiebinger are realizing that both men and women exhibit a spectrum of gender traits that aren’t purely masculine or feminine.


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kitesandtrainsandcats
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29 Mar 2021, 7:42 am

everybody_i5 wrote:
kraftiekortie wrote:
The sex is “assigned” by the sex chromosomes.

It would be nice if the zygote could pick its sex.


This is actually untrue. Sex is assigned by the doctors, based on their observations. People can be wrong about sex assignment.


Part 3, oh, Planned Parenthood has something to say, let's see what it is,
https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn ... r-identity

Quote:
The factors that determine our assigned sex begin as early as fertilization.

Each sperm has either an X or a Y chromosome in it. All eggs have an X chromosome.

When sperm fertilizes an egg, its X or Y chromosome combines with the X chromosome of the egg.

A person with XX chromosomes usually has female sex and reproductive organs, and is therefore usually assigned biologically female.

A person with XY chromosomes usually has male sex and reproductive organs, and is therefore usually assigned biologically male.

Other arrangements of chromosomes, hormones, and body parts can happen, which results in someone being intersex.

What’s gender?

Gender is much bigger and more complicated than assigned sex. Gender includes gender roles, which are expectations society and people have about behaviors, thoughts, and characteristics that go along with a person’s assigned sex.

For example, ideas about how men and women are expected to behave, dress, and communicate all contribute to gender. Gender is also a social and legal status as girls and boys, men, and women.

It’s easy to confuse sex and gender. Just remember that biological or assigned sex is about biology, anatomy, and chromosomes. Gender is society’s set of expectations, standards, and characteristics about how men and women are supposed to act.


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everybody_i5
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29 Mar 2021, 8:29 am

kitesandtrainsandcats, I can tell you're trying to be condescending, but unfortunately, you are such a terrible writer that I am unclear about what you are trying to say.



magz
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29 Mar 2021, 9:19 am

 ! magz wrote:
Clarifications before accusations, please.


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kraftiekortie
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29 Mar 2021, 1:43 pm

Biological sex is determined by chromosomes......gender is determined by society.

I feel like Kites nailed it on the head on this issue.



OutsideView
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29 Mar 2021, 2:09 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
Biological sex is determined by chromosomes......gender is determined by society.

I feel like Kites nailed it on the head on this issue.

For some people it seems that their gender is more, it is part of their being and not just something made up by society.

As for dorkseid's original question I think it's true that the phrase was borrowed from when a sex is/was chosen for an intersex baby, although the phrase "gender assigned" does seem to make more sense in the context of most trans people.


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kraftiekortie
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29 Mar 2021, 2:18 pm

I don't disagree with that. Not at all.

Gender is determined by the individual person, and by the society.



dorkseid
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05 Apr 2021, 9:03 pm

I don't see any reason to believe Kites is being condescending.

It's the same thing that happens to aspies all the time: you simply state what the research says, and people think you're being condescending. Some things just won't change, it seems.



ApricitiousRory
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05 May 2021, 9:28 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
Biological sex is determined by chromosomes......gender is determined by society.


Respectfully, I find this statement problematic. Not wrong exactly, but a massive oversimplification of something that’s far more complex than either idea indicates.

Here’s an excerpt from a 2019 Lancet article on the concept of biological sex that gives an overview of how the current scientific view of biological sex is more mosaic and less binary than the vast majority of general popular discourse makes it out to be:

Quote:
For a century, scientists studied an array of human characteristics that inform our ideas of what makes someone a woman or a man, seeking to pin down a single, definitive biological indicator of sex. Bodies troubled these schemes and socially untenable categorisations ensued. If gonads were understood as the essence of sex, women who were phenotypically female but who had testes were men. This seemed illogical, so scientists proposed yet other traits. Even as they debated which biological trait or combination of traits signalled its essence, scientists understood sex as biological and involving multiple, if contested, factors.

Contemporary scientific understanding of sex and its relation to gender was greatly influenced by the work of psychologist John Money, at Johns Hopkins University, USA, beginning in the 1950s. With colleagues, Money further complicated approaches to sex by identifying a range of biological and social factors. Chromosomes, gonads, hormones, and internal and external genital morphology were considered alongside social factors such as assigned sex and rearing, and gender role and sexual orientation. His ideas gained traction, and scientists and medical professionals came to accept sex as inherently knotty: that its “variables” are multiple, come in far more than two versions, and that no single biological factor is determinative.

Research since has expanded the range of variables that produce sex. As one example, the Y chromosome was once said to trigger testes development in fetuses. Later research showed a gene called SRY, located on the Y chromosome, “pushed” primordial germ cells in the embryo to become testes. We now know there are active genes involved in both ovary and testis determination across the genome, and not restricted to the X and Y chromosomes. As biologist Anne Fausto-Sterling has observed, “[T]hose looking to biology for an easy-to-administer definition of sex and gender can derive little comfort from the most important of these [research] findings.”

If what we know of sex is its multiplicity, this introduces a conundrum: which factors to use in categorising and defining sex? Policy makers who formulate sex categorisations and definitions overwhelmingly rely on biological features to ground membership. Biological factors hold appeal and power since reference to “biology” and “science” lends any suggested trait or combination of traits the appearance of neutrality and thus objectivity. But biological definitions of sex are at odds with the understanding that sex involves multiple biological and social factors. They are also at odds with social scientific work that complicates the idea that sex is biological whereas gender is cultural; sex, as much as gender, is culturally contingent and produced. As J R Latham notes, “sex” is not a static, discrete, or even strictly biological characteristic that exists prior to the relations and practices that produce it. Historian of science Sarah Richardson, for example, has shown how scientists “sexed” the X and Y chromosomes by glossing over inconsistencies and ambiguities between the two in their research to elevate findings that align with gendered ideas about biological sex differences.


I find the topics of sex & gender to be an abiding deep interest. One idea that I have yet to get past is that it just seems absurd to me to take seriously a view that entirety of the human gender experience could possibly fit into a binary, male or female. Perhaps that’s because of where I live, in an area influenced by various indigenous cultures that have traditionally viewed gender as a multiplicity. For example, the Dine, the Zuni, et al.

The whole concept of gender, “biological sex”, phenotypes, etc., is so fascinating to me in large part because of the evolving scientific understanding and the disconnect with prevalent societal perspectives. I’m glad to find it being discussed here. 8)