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Gender Explained: How the Obama Administration Is Getting It Right on Gender Identity


Gender Explained: How the Obama Administration Is Getting It Right on Gender Identity

Karen Dolan

The U.S. government is officially suing the state of North Carolina over its controversial, discriminatory “bathroom bill,” which bars transgender residents from using public restrooms appropriate to their gender identity.


Clearly LGBT issues, especially viewed as civil rights which they are, especially for children, are important - defending them is what we should expect from a true leader!. The "Obama admn" is playing an old game; using obviously-clear social issues to divert attention from other - not larger, but perhaps more impactful - hard to say without sounding like a bigot - issues that affect many millions and our economy and financial sector. I'm speaking about the TPP Trojan Horse and other corporate servitude, wider war and obscene military budget, financial parasites usury, the uber-wealthy controlling our political processes via big-bucks, media corruption, environmental neglect and destructive exploitation, etc, etc.

Obama is "getting it right" as far as an issue that is outside the domination of our nation and planet by the super-rich 1%, global corporate facism, for-profit war, global warming and oil/gas conglomerate influence to do little or nothing about it, etc, etc, - Obama is a political hack, NOT a leader! And I will expand that opinion to his ex-Sec of State as well!

Its great Obama stands up for LGBT civil rights but lets not get all gushy with praise where little is rightly deserved! He should have stood-up for REAL health care reform/single payer, reined-in obscene "defense" spending, spoken against police-state tactics/murders, not deported families, reformed the cannabis laws, not hired the Clinton Rubinite financial scum, etc, etc-

I'm sure you catch my drift. Obama has taken the cowards/corrupt path on "major" issues and spoken out when there was little or no 'down-side" or big money/influence/political toes to step-on..........


Great. But why is it that this is the only thing Obama has "got right" in his eight long years in the White House. Why is it, for example, that he hasn't even done anything of significance for African Americans? Or working people? Or the environment? Pity. He could have been so much more, could have been an FDR. Instead, he's a black Eisenhower but spends more time golfing than Eisenhower ever did. What a great legacy.


Thank you for saying this. There is massive evidence that environmental hormone exposure may be at least partially responsible for the explosion of gender issues we are seeing these days. Unfortunately that possibility doesn't fit into anyone's political agenda, so it is ignored.


"Gender, like sexuality, doesn’t exist as a binary — it exists as an arc."

Well then why do we have to "identify" as a gender at all?

Why don't we just have "human" bathrooms?

Why don't we just have "gender neutral" pronouns - the heck with this "him/her" bit ...


For single-stall bathrooms, I agree with you. But for multi-stall bathrooms, people in our culture demand separate bathrooms for males and females.


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This is great, but to put it bluntly, this is all you will get from neoliberals, because the powers in control don't care about gender issues, unless it can be used to divide people. To paraphrase Shillary: "If we solve gender issues and racism, will that fix economic ruin, crushing of the middle class or us-led planetary wars and environmental destruction all caused by power concentrated at the top?"


How the Obama Administration Is Getting It Right on Gender Identity

But not much of anything else.


A windfall for plumbers and architects!
Urinals will be removed and stalls installed!


I don't understand what you mean by your last sentence. Could you please explain? Thanks.


He is not the worst president ever. But he may well be the one who squandered his potential the most or worst.


Well "people in our culture" demand a lot of things that don't really make a lot of sense, IMO .... (smile)


You've explained nothing.

"According to the National Institutes of Health, there’s no convincing evidence that gender identity is either formed independently of hormonal influences or influenced by social environment after birth. On the contrary, there’s overwhelming evidence that the behavioral expressions we identify as “gender” are formed insside the brain, in utero, as a result of the presence or lack of androgens."

The existence of a hormonal triggers is entirely compatible with social and environmental influences required to instantiate and direct those triggers/dispositoins (indeed, as one commentator observes above, the latter may influence in utero the former). The author has not resolved the so-called "nature-nuture" debate (also a false dichotomy in the hands of many theorists) with these few remarks. Likewise, gendered "behavioral expressions" may find one source "inside the brain in utero," but that hardly discounts the possibility (and legitimacy!) of founding those expressions in socialization and intentionality (here the author belies a common, fatal misconception -- that gender identity is only legitimate when formed independently of conscious choice or socialization).

It seems to me that the politics of bathroom/locker room use is somewhat distinct from these debates, involving legitimate notions of privacy, respect for difference, and safety, on all sides. If safety, comfort, and a sense of inclusion is important to the one side, it ought to be extended in equal measure to all. If, in the end, we decide that fairness demands unrestricted access to facilities based on the user's self-identification, then we should most likely move to private, single stall facilities across the board. If, as the author suggests, gender does exist along an "arc," then Men's and women's locker rooms and bathrooms should be eliminated entirely.


I was supporting your contention in my initial reply ("as one observer notes above...")


How does the specter of private locker rooms/toilets appeal to "sexist males"?


My idea was entirely private facilities. Even people who identify in a common gendered way might prefer to keep their bodies and functions to themselves.


I have no problem with the suggestion that hormone disruption may interfere with genital assignment and/or gender identity/sexual preference at any time in one's life, including in utero.


"Gender, like sexuality, doesn’t exist as a binary — it exists as an arc."

Technically, there is a distribution of gender, but it's very, very narrow. In the vast majority of people, their XX or XY sex matches their male or female gender, which almost always falls into two categories. And the vast majority of people are heterosexual. Consider the actual data from the CDC:

  • 1.9% of men are homosexual
  • 1.3% of women are homosexual
  • 0.3% of people are transgender

The endless attention that liberals pay to gay/transgender issues is ridiculously disproportionate and unproductive. Sure, I support trans civil rights 100%, but we need to focus on the much more important issues that affect more than a tiny, tiny minority: income inequality, corporate corruption of politics, endless war, species extinction, climate change, etc.