Mercy Muroki: I do not want the introduction of gender neutral passports in this country
Rather than a male or female designation, the new US gender neutral passport simply has the letter X in the gender box.
The U.S. State Department confirmed yesterday that it has issued the first ever American gender-neutral passport.
Rather than a male or female designation, the new gender neutral passport simply has the letter X in the gender box.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that these ‘X’ passports will be offered as an option on passports, following in the footsteps of other countries such as Canada, Australia, and Germany, who offer third options for sex on passports.
The first recipient of this new passport is one Dana Zzyym, a 63 year old biological man who says he is “neither male or female”.
Zzyym says that the goal is to help the next generation of intersex people win recognition as full citizens with rights. What rights exactly he was being denied by having ‘male’ on his passport, is unclear, to me – I’ll be honest.
But, all of this unsettles me, because where America goes, Britain can be found not too far behind.
And I do not want the introduction of gender neutral passports in this country. Why?
Firstly, because biological sex IS a fundamental and meaningful reality.
I’m not talking about gender – which I accept is an ambiguous concept – I’m talking about biological sex.
There is a branch of pseudoscience that tries to peddle the myth that biological sex is a spectrum – and I reject this.
They say sex is a spectrum because some male and female characteristics overlap and because some people are legitimately intersex. That is, they have a medical condition where their reproductive and sexual anatomy is genuinely mixed.
And yes, intersex people do exist. But the condition is incredibly rare – around 0.018% of people are estimated to be biologically intersex.
And these people have a legitimate case to make for gender-neutral passports. Not just anyone who declares themselves sexless.
Just because intersex people exist, it does not mean sex is a spectrum.
Evolutionary biologist Colin Wright, whose explanations of sex I would highly recommend makes this analogy:
Say you have an American nickel, a 5 cent coin – it has two faces, but of course it also has an edge – and theres about a 1 in 6000 chance that if you flip the nickle, it will land on it’s edge.
But heads and tails remain different and mutually exclusive outcomes – it does not make coin faces a spectrum.
And,likewise sex in humans is almost always unambiguously, and exclusively male or female. That’s a biological fact.
Some people might say – why do I care so much? What harm does it do to let someone change their gender to an X on a passport.
But it does matter to society as a whole. If fundamental biological reality can be so easily dismissed and contorted on the whims of anyone who demands it, this is dangerous.
What does this mean for how science and medicine views distinctly male and female issues?
For how we prioritise and allocate public services and support?
For how we record and understand criminal behaviour?
Indeed how we understand any form of behaviour that is linked to sex?
For how we safeguard women and girls?
For athletic competition?
And in fact: for knowledge, and for truth itself?
An X on a passport might seem like a small price for some, but I don’t want to sleepwalk onto the slippery slope of sex-spectrum pseudoscience.