My favorite organization, the American Civil Liberties Union, has filed a suit in Anchorage, Alaska against the state because they refused to grant a driver’s license to a transgendered person. Apparently, this former-man-now-‘woman’ applied for a driver’s license but was denied because this person, referred to as K.L., did not undergo a sex change surgery. The ACLU is claiming that ‘denying the woman a license that accurately reflects her gender identity because she hasn’t undergone surgery is unconstitutional’. Personal beliefs aside, this brings up some interesting points. Let’s take a look at the facts.
The ACLU is a strong proponent of equality for a wide variety of groups. With that equality, the ACLU, along with many other organizations, insists that people be recognized for their differences whether it be race, religion, gender, sex, etc. (Don’t you find it interesting that a group that seeks to create equality across the board continues to sort people into groups?) With that being said, sociologists have defined specific differences between sex and gender. Sex is defined as ‘either of the two major forms of individuals that occur in many species and that are distinguished respectively as female or male especially on the basis of their reproductive organs and structures’. Gender is defined as ‘the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex’ Some sites also claim that gender is a subclass of sex. Okay, so just to clarify Merriam-Webster, (and most sociology and psychology text books) says sex is physiological and gender is psychological.
Moving on. In actuality, this K.L. person is suing because the state of Alaska would not recognize the behaviors, cultures and psychological practices and instead wanted to identify a person based on organs and actual tangible body parts. I must be missing something here.
I have to question what the argument is for gender being a suitable form of identification. Sure, gender rights are protected by Human Rights, the UN and other entities, but gender is not a way to identify one person from the next. These rights are in place to protect people, as they should be. And I have to wonder how it would be applicable. Say a transgender person is in a car wreck and unable to identify themselves at the scene. A lot of chaos could ensue when a license states one ‘sex’ and a medical examination determines another. And while this K.L. person may have female tendencies that does not make him a male. When I go shoot a gun at the gun range wearing camo and Timberland boots, I don’t refer to myself as a male. Hunting quail on a camping trip would not change this either. And how about public places? Which restroom does K.L. use when out? Certainly he wouldn’t walk into a woman’s restroom because that would essentially be breaking the law. So why would a form of government identification be any different?
Take out your license. Look at it. Next to your eye color, your hair color and
unfortunately your weight, what does it say? Sex. Not gender.