Current House Bill 2171 defines “sex” as “the physical condition of being male or female, which is determined by a person’s chromosomes, and is identified at birth by a person’s anatomy” as if this is always the case. In the case of transgender children, this is not the case. This bill’s wording reveals major biological ignorance and discrimination against a handicap.
Usually, but not always, XY chromosomes produce a boy and XX produces a girl. However, a relatively high rate of babies are born XO: one X chromosome and no second X or a Y. This is called Turner syndrome. I have had at least six Turner syndrome students in my classrooms during my teaching career that I know of. Additional cases when chromosomes fail to separate normally produce individuals who are XXX, XXY, XYY, and XXXY, etc.
The bill states that sex is identified at birth. Not always. If a couple do not already know the sex of their child, the first announcement they await is “it’s a boy” or “it’s a girl”! But sometimes the delivering physician has to say “I’ll get back to you on that” when the genital anatomy is ambiguous and not clearly either male or female. There are many causes for when the body does not follow normal development. Today, science understands most of them.
In the case of androgen insensitivity, a baby “girl” appears to have the external and internal anatomy of a girl, until they biopsy the gonadal tissues and discover internal testes! Testes produce testosterone that flows through the bloodstream and body tissues respond to the testosterone by developing male tissues. But in this case, the child’s cells lack the receptors and ignore the testosterone. The child has XY chromosomes and testes but the child’s body develops female.
Altogether there are five major factors that must align for normal sexual development: chromosomes, anatomy, hormones and brain development for gender and for sexual ideation. Most of us are very lucky to develop with all five of these in agreement. We inherit XY, have male anatomy, produce testosterone, feel comfortable in a more-or-less masculine role, and are sexually attracted to females after puberty. Or we inherit XX chromosomes, have female anatomy, produce estrogens (there are several), feel comfortable in a more-or-less feminine role, and are sexually attracted to males.
But some children are not as fortunate, and their chromosomes, anatomy, hormones, and brain development do not align. This is not uncommon. Taken in total, some form of sexual ambiguity is more common than all cases of Down syndrome and cystic fibrosis combined.
Forget the rest of the LGB alphabet. This is not about “gay rights.” The only group that is targeted by this legislation is transgender children. Usually by age 6, a child’s brain develops a “feeling” of being either masculine or feminine. It is not learned. And at this age, it has nothing to do with sexual attraction.
For most of us, our feeling of being male or female will align with our anatomy. But for transgender children, this feeling of being masculine or feminine does not align with their birth anatomy. This is biological. It is not a choice. They will not decide to be a boy one day and a girl the next. These children will usually be facing hormone treatments and a series of reconstructive surgeries. But due to widespread ignorance among outside adults, some Kansas transgender children stay at home, homeschooled because of the discomfort they feel at school by the very same attitudes demonstrated in HB2171.
Masculinity or femininity is not something you learn or can change; it develops during the last trimester before birth. Dr. Dick Swaab’s research team in the Netherlands was the first to clearly locate this brain difference over a decade ago.
This is a handicap, and HB2171 reflects an ignorance, indeed a cruel attitude toward those children whose brain development for gender identity does not match their birth anatomy.