Biological sex is real. It is scientifically discoverable, even before birth, and genetically encoded in every cell of the body. Archaeologists can distinguish it even centuries after death. Biological sex, like other identifying information collected on birth certificates, is a verifiable material fact.
Biological sex never goes away. Puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones chemically alter the appearance and physiology of the body but do not transform a male into a female or vice versa because they have no impact upon a person’s genetics. If discontinued, harmful side effects may persist, but the body will eventually resume its natural genetically-directed sex-specific programming. Surgery can only imitate the appearance, not the natural function, of the opposite biological sex.
In March 2018, a federal judge ruled, in an uncontested case, that Idaho had to begin accepting applications for changes of sex on birth certificates. The case was replete with language that equated sex with gender identity and, without any discussion of how this ruling would impact public policy or citizens generally, the time-tested, biology-based, legal definition of sex was effectively erased and replaced.
But wait– biological sex matters to every individual, including those who undergo hormone therapy and surgery. Because sex is programmed into every cell of the body; lab results, disease susceptibility, medicinal doses, and a host of other sex-specific characteristics persist regardless of hormone regimens or surgery. Inaccurate, or hidden, biological identification of sex endangers the health and well-being of these individuals and compromises professional providers.
Biological sex also matters to society at large. Many public and private policies and contracts include important sex-specific provisions. Medical doctors, law enforcement, and first responders depend on sex-specific practices. Examples of settings where sex-specific policies protect the privacy and safety of all include: college dorms, military service and the draft, athletic associations, summer camps, overnight accommodations on school field trips, restrooms, prisons, jails, mental health hospitals, youth organizations, and shelters. Automobile and health insurance companies base rates and benefits on research-based, sex-specific differences. Statisticians, educators, and researchers rely on biology-based, sex-specific language and data. Churches implement faith-based, sex-specific policies. And the health and happiness of Idaho’s next-generation hinges on men and women filling biological, sex-specific roles in families as fathers and mothers. Without a reliable biology-based definition of sex, all of these policies and institutions are compromised.
When human lives, health, safety, and our most basic institutions are on the line, it’s better to be correct than politically correct. It’s time we tie Idaho birth certificates back to biological sex as outlined in the Idaho Vital Statistics Act, House Bill 509.
Julianne Young is a member of the Idaho House of Representatives, representing District 31, seat B. She assumed office in 2018. Representative Young graduated from Snake River High School, received her associate degree from Ricks College, and earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Idaho State University. She and her husband make their home just outside of Blackfoot, Idaho and are the proud parents of ten children.