Oh, I'm sorry, I thought God determined my gender.

Welcome Instapundit readers!

Apparently, that job actually goes to Health and Human Services Secretary and Kansas Governor, Democrat Kathleen Sebelius. Via CNS News:

"The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s health care legislation will give the Health and Human Services secretary the authority to develop 'standards of measuring gender'-- as opposed to using the traditional 'male' and 'female' categories."

Can't you just feel the ooze of political correctness? Not yet? Here's more from the World Health Organization:

"Sex refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women. Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women."

In other words, having woman parts doesn't actually make me a woman. I'll be waiting for Sebelius' approval on that, but in the meantime, why stop at gender? Let's take the no-objective-realities idea to its logical end and start declaring race and age classifications at will, too.

That way, if we Republicans have another old, white dude run for President in the next go-round, we could have Sebelius declare him a young, wise, ethnic woman first.

H/T: Villainous Company.


  1. Logged this into the category of "I'm so sure".

  2. “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life, unless that white male chooses to overcome the handicap of his genitalia and begins embracing the roles, behaviors, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for women.”

  3. Anonymous20.7.09

    Bruno, call Dick Morris.

  4. There's a bit of a problem for some. My gender is female, and my OB/Gyn says I have adequate girl bits.

    I also have the 46xy chromosomes normally found in males. As do some other women, some of whom have given birth. And there's 47xxy men, and 47xxy women too, who may be classed as neither male nor female under some definitions.

    In the jurisdiction I live in, I'm counted as female because biologically, that's what I am (mostly). But in Kansas, I'd be male.

    So how does anyone determine whether I'm a woman or not? By examining my gender.

    I know that for most people it's simple, everything matches. For one in sixty though, there's technically a problem, and one in a thousand an obvious problem.

  5. Anonymous20.7.09

    I guess you've never met a transsexual or inter-sexed person, Suzanna. I can promise you that gender is more complicated than can be expressed by a letter 'F' or 'M' typed on a piece of paper. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy

  6. Zoe, your karotype and the Turner's and Kleinfelter's people are rather the opposite situation from what is described here. Humans are basically sexually dimorphic, with uncommon exceptions. The idea that this is highly malleable via culture is the modern concept of gender. (Yeah, you knew that. Better than I do). Yet in an unusual way, it was biology which exerted dominence over culture in your life, though it was slow in coming.

  7. Second to Anonymous. And I'm disappointed with Insty for treating this all as a big joke; thought Glenn had better sense than that.

    For me, the whole issue of the Government collecting statistics on - or even caring about - my race, ethnicity, gender, or what have you, is a problem. Also I don't trust the Government to determine my gender for me, any more than I trust CNS or Suzanna Logan to do that. It's my own damn business, thank you.

  8. Anonymous20.7.09

    "...having woman parts doesn't actually make me a woman..."

    You mean you don't know Palin's greatet fraud was pretend to be a woman?

    "if we Republicans have another old, white dude run for President in the next go-round, we could have Sebelius declare him a young, wise, ethnic woman first..."

    Er, no, he will be declared ineligible for being a racist. By default a white guy, male or female, is a racist. An old white guy needs to consult the govt. doctor/ nurse to prepare for his keel-over-with-dignity, not for the presidency.


  9. Anonymous20.7.09

    People do not have gender. Words in some languages have gender. People are either of male or female sex.

  10. AVI - it gets really complicated for people with some Intersex conditions though. I'm referring to 5alpha-reductase-2 deficiency and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-3 deficiency (to name the most common syndromes that can cause similar effects).

    Born looking female, but masculinising later. For all intents and purposes, they get a natural sex change. Technically not transsexual, they just appear to be.

    If bureaucracy was tempered with common sense and humanity, exceptions would be made for exceptional circumstances using discretionary powers.

    But when it comes to Federal Administration, is there anyone here who believes that "humanity" and "common sense" are concepts that are even remotely understood? No, they have to have rules and regulations.

    The legal situation in the USA is a mess when it comes to several hundred thousand US citizens - a tiny minority of the population as a whole, but still too large to be ignored.

    From the newspaper that gives you All the News That Fits, the NYT :
    The case of J’noel Gardiner, in Kansas, provides a telling example. Ms. Gardiner, a postoperative transsexual woman, married her husband, Marshall Gardiner, in 1998. When he died in 1999, she was denied her half of his $2.5 million estate by the Kansas Supreme Court on the ground that her marriage was invalid. Thus in Kansas, any transgendered person who is anatomically female is now allowed to marry only another woman.

    Similar rulings have left couples in similar situations in Florida, Ohio and Texas. A 1999 ruling in San Antonio, in Littleton v. Prange, determined that marriage could be only between people with different chromosomes. The result, of course, was that lesbian couples in that jurisdiction were then allowed to wed as long as one member of the couple had a Y chromosome, which is the case with both transgendered male-to-females and people born with conditions like androgen insensitivity syndrome. This ruling made Texas, paradoxically, one of the first states in which gay marriage was legal.

    A lawyer for the transgendered plaintiff in the Littleton case noted the absurdity of the country’s gender laws as they pertain to marriage: “Taking this situation to its logical conclusion, Mrs. Littleton, while in San Antonio, Tex., is a male and has a void marriage; as she travels to Houston, Tex., and enters federal property, she is female and a widow; upon traveling to Kentucky she is female and a widow; but, upon entering Ohio, she is once again male and prohibited from marriage; entering Connecticut, she is again female and may marry; if her travel takes her north to Vermont, she is male and may marry a female; if instead she travels south to New Jersey, she may marry a male.”

    The situation is absurd - just not for the reasons you might think. This apparently idiotic directive is actually an attempt to straighten out some of the mess.

    I hope it works. I have my doubts.

    And Anonymous - some people have both male and female body parts, and 46xy and 46xx chromosomes depending on which part the tissue sample is taken from. So in neither a biological nor a legal sense is the situation clear for everyone.

  11. Anonymous20.7.09

    Wow. THis is stunningly dumb.

    You mean you didn't know the defintion of gender before today? You had to go to the WHO to find out? Whazzamatter, you couldn't ask the nearest literate person?

    And, no. It doesnt mean that having women parts doesnt make you a woman. Sexually, you are a woman. In terms of gender, well, I guess you are female as well, but its not because of your parts. See the definition.

    So no. "God" determines your sex. Your gender is a bit more complicated. Or maybe YOURS isn't. But it is for lots of people. Maybe you've noticed....

  12. Anonymous20.7.09

    Somehow, this is reminding me of the debate over the status of slaves in free states, back before the civil war. In that situation, the legal constructs could not contain the human actualities. Seems like the same thing here.

  13. Maybe this is why Dems always nominate the manliest of women, like Sotomayor, Janet Reno, and Janet Napolitano, because they looks almost transgender.

  14. It seems that the two concepts of sex and gender, once considered consumate with and inextricable from one another, are now viewed as biological and social constructs respectivly. While these concepts remain inextricable, and they are no matter how you dice it, they are no longer seen as consumate amoung the progressive and politically correct. I for one find it insulting that one's masculinity or femininity has been relegated to the realm of self determined subjectivity. this kind of thinking only serves to further diminish what it is to be human.

    While equal in value and being both men and women are distinct in their roles and essence. To say that gender is a purly subjective thing is to remove it from the realm of the absolute and thus strip is from humanity. While there are many who would argue for the subjectivity of gender, there are few, at least I would hope so, that would argue that one's humanity (whether or not they are a human being) is subjective.

    One's gender is one of the most intricate aspects of their humanity. One cannot subjectively determine their gender and at the same time demand that determination be universally accepted. Subjectivity is the realm of opinion while objectivity is the realm of fact. Are we as a society willing to religate such an intricate aspect of our humanity to the realm of opinion?

    I am not saying that gender becomes completely meaningless when it becomes subjective. What I am saying is that what it means to be human, both male and female, becomes reduced and losses much of its significance. It will always be significant on a personal and individual level but since the determination of anything subjective will vary amoungst the collective whole it no holds significance for all and is thus diminished.

    I realize that the issue of gender is for some both a complicated and very difficult determination. there has been some quibbling over the definition of gender in previous comments. Historically and logically tradition, rather than current opionion, has dictated what such things as gender and sex mean. The weight of aggregate human experience and collective observation far outweighs the latest opinions. As far as gender goes, there are men and women and that's it. Both are distinct in their essence and equal in their being. A bearded woman is still a woman and a man with breasts is still a man. One is not a man or a woman because of how they feel or what they have decided any more than one is human because they feel and have decided they are.

  15. Anonymous21.7.09

    Conservative women are tougher than Democratic men. Conservative men don't have time for nanny statists.

  16. Once Zoe comments on this topic, you might as well just close comments down and go home.

  17. Anonymous21.7.09

    Trust liberals to see this as a problem that government has to resolve which is why conservatives see it as a joke.

    For all you idiots that pull out a one in 500 case or a one in a thousand, who gives a f·ck? If you need a government figure to help you figure out what to call yourself, you are already too screwed up for words. Make a decision and get on with your life.

  18. How come the Democrats are the "pro-science" Party in the perception of most Americans? This is as anti-science as Creationism. And it's almost an article of faith among Democratic leaders.

  19. Jamie21.7.09

    4:38 Anonymous - I (a conservative) don't see it as a joke; I see it as yet another opportunity for the Law of Unintended Consequences to take its course. If it were likely that HHS would use some biological data in its defining process - a defining process which might indeed be clarifying and helpful to the TINY minority of people for whom this is or may one day be an issue - it'd be better than it is... but considering the weight given to "culture" overall, is it likely? Or is it more likely that the defining process will focus on how the gendered person "feels" about him- or herself (I might add "at that moment"), inviting abuses and legal tangles?

  20. There is only one race, human. All the others classifications are so arbitrary as to have no meaning. Race is a construct of society and has no real meaning.

    I think there is a difference between sex and gender. There is no need for government to define gender.

    It leads to arguments like these.

  21. Reading this post made me wonder what I am, so I stripped down to buck-nakedness, and stood in front of a mirror. I seem to have what are called male parts and those who have female parts attract me, while those who have male parts don’t. So, what am I as far as sex and gender are concerned?

  22. Hmm...will HELP take on the task of locating the Soul?

  23. Apparently you haven't consulted a dictionary. If you did, you'd see that sex and gender are DEFINITIONALLY different.

  24. Suzanna, you're a girl.

  25. Anonymous21.7.09

    Nothing like deconstruction to make meaning useless. Can anyone say "category error?"

  26. Anonymous22.7.09

    I wonder if they can tell me whether or not my balls are too large?

  27. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



  28. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.